Without fanfare – without “Mission Accomplished” bands playing, but with solemn words – President Obama ended the nine-year war in Iraq as he had promised he would.
He ended a war that cost 4,500 American lives, 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, $850 billion in costs – much borrowed from China – and thousands of soldiers wounded and thousands coming home with minds that will never be repaired.
This historic moment in American history will forever refute the Bush-Cheney concept of pre-emptive war, which was ill-conceived, ill-advised, ill-prepared-for and terribly costly without any clear results.
It must be remembered that we went to war to destroy weapons of mass destruction without secure knowledge of their existence. Some argued at the time that WMDs did not exist except in the minds of the defense contractors who saw dollar signs in their eyes and an oil-rich land to conquer. Despite the promise that the oil reserves in Iraq would pay for the war, we are now paying with our own economy and its sad consequences.
War is not an answer to employment or to production of goods; it is death and destruction. Yet today, the right wing of the Republican Party wants war with Iran. There are some who never learn a lesson and don’t deserve to be in power.
Kudos to our president, who with the United Nations and NATO has supported the Arab Spring uprisings without boots on the ground, and has proved again that the unilateral directives by Bush and Cheney to put boots on the ground left a failure of purpose and a fog of uncertainty.
Thank you, Mr. President, for uplifting families as they watch their sons and daughters come home. Thank you for your service to this country.
(The writer is chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party.)