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IRAQ: U.S. should have exercised patience

Letter by Thomas W. Glenn, Tacoma on Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm with 26 Comments »
December 22, 2011 9:54 am

A decade ago, our president led us into war. We were under imminent threat from the “axis of evil.” Our sworn enemy, Iraq, had poison gas and long-range missiles and was months away from maybe having a nuclear weapon. Something had to be done now, by us, to save ourselves and the world.

That hardly anybody agreed with us merely showed their ignorance. At the cost of a trillion dollars and thousands of our dead and injured and more than 100,000 Iraqi dead, we liberated their nation from totalitarianism and created a vaccum the Iraqis are still trying to fill.

In the same nine years, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi fell to his own people and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il fell to time and debauchery. At the cost of our economy, prestige and good will we brought down a regime that patience and time would have toppled.

The loss to our nation and the world is also in lost opportunity. A trillion dollars could have provided education through college to every child born here this decade. One of the lives lost or destroyed could have been the next Steve Jobs, Jonas Salk or Mozart.

Lives, money and respect can only be spent once. Given the price we paid, we need to ask: “Did we really win this war?”

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Leave a comment Comments → 26
  1. Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi fell to his own people

    Seriously??!!??? The US-led NATO military were Libyan’s people?

    C’mon now…your partisan colored glasses are missing the sad reality that the W policies never ended and, it could be said Obama is ramping them up.

  2. SandHills says:

    bb at his best – making an argument for arguments sake. The letter writer addressed some good thoughts to ponder. bb had to jump in with both feet to, on one hand, to seemingly praise/condemn the use of outside military might to help topple a dictator in Libya, but also seeming to be knocking both the Bush and Obama (in Afghanistan) policy for use of military might in helping the helpless. Given that the letter was on Iraq, one has to ask bb two questions: 1. What Bush policy is Obama “ramping up” there. And secondly, exactly what point were you trying to make – is it that the use of force in Iraq was worth it ( exactly what question the letter writer posed), or that the more sparing use of military force to help rid the world of another dictator was right (or wrong, cant’t really determine from your comment).

    And please, if possible, no ad hominem to clarify your previous post.

  3. hansgruber says:

    Thomas, Obama dumped more dollars in his stimulus than the wars and it didn’t do jack for our economy or our education.

    We have spend more dollars on education than the Iraq/A-stan war and it didn’t help either?

    To succeed in education, you gotta want one.

  4. Misunderestimated says:

    Mr Glenn, you must have missed your medications this morning.
    Maintaining stability in Korea has cost the US many hundreds of $ Billions since 1953.
    Ridding Libya of Ghaddafi had very little American involvement; however,it was still too much in my view.
    I did not support the Iraqi war, neither of them; however, I find the ravings of many such as yourself to leave me wondering as too your sanity.
    We did not have the $Trillion to spend in Iraq just as we did not have it to spend on your personal frivilous projects; we are borrowing all of this from China in a spate of national lunacy.
    That you would seek to simply spend this borrowed money in other areas makes my head hurt; God help our Grandchildren recover from the stupidity of this generation.

  5. hansgruber says:

    Don’t forget to add 69 more Iraqi deaths in Bagdad after the US left yesterday. See all that money spent still can’t stop Iraqi’s killing each other.

  6. And please, if possible, no ad hominem to clarify your previous post.

    You do realize that the above sentence qualifies as an ad hominem attack upon me but….

    Though the letter writer did not specifically mention Bush or Obama, it seemed partisan to me that he wrote (accurately) about the huge strategic blunder that was Iraq and misrepresented what happened in Libya.

    Don’t get me wrong – there is much in the letter I agree with but I think we should be very aware that we are still very much involved in Afghanistan, very near a hot war in Pakistan and there is much sabre-rattling going on with Iran (not to mention other smaller activities in other countries). Obama seems, to me, to be continuing with the same policies put forward by PNAC and followed by W.

  7. hansgruber:
    “Thomas, Obama dumped more dollars in his stimulus than the wars and it didn’t do jack for our economy or our education.”

    Any cursory search would prove both these statements absolutely false.

  8. hansgruber says:

    beer-you are right on the money on this one

  9. hansgruber says:

    @ alkkech-U.S. war in Iraq formally comes to an endThursday, December 15, 2011
    ABC-News

    A conflict that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the American sacrifice

    In addition to the dead, the war left 32,000 Americans wounded and cost the U.S. more than $800 billion.

    http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/national_world&id=8468172

  10. hansgruber says:

    or this….According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

    Obama’s Stimulus The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

  11. hansgruber says:

    and on the econmy-Despite spending $1.1 trillion on federal stimulus since 2009, America’s economy remains mired in recession. Though the Administration claimed after the stimulus unemployment would be 6.5 percent today, instead the rate is stagnated at 9.1 percent nationally and approximately 13.2 percent in the First District. According to the Department of Labor, the rate nationally has been over 8 percent for 31 consecutive months. More than 8 million Americans are working only part-time because they cannot find full time employment. Equally alarming, nearly 46 million Americans are receiving food stamps – the highest number of recipients in history.

    http://www.dailypress.net/page/content.detail/id/532836/More-stimulus-spending-won-t-fix-economy.html?nav=5097

  12. hansgruber:

    or this….According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

    Obama’s Stimulus The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.”

    War: $905B

    “$83.4 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, citing threats from al Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban.

    The request, to cover the rest of the 2009 fiscal year which ends on Sept. 30, comes on top of more than $822 billion that Congress has approved to fund the wars since September 2001..”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/04/10/obama-budget-wars-idUSN0927887920090410

    So far given it two year duration the Stimulus has spent since its enactment in February 2009, $734.4B has been paid out.

    The economy would be far worse without the stimulus.

  13. Let’s just back up to the reasons we invaded Iraq – money aside.

    1. WMDs (that were never found)

    2. Retaliation for 9/11 (Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11)

    Now, money.

    Regardless of if $900 billion or $900 was spent, we had no business being there.

    As to the 69 deaths since we pulled troops…..not our problem. No more than killings in any other country.

    Stimulus – the Conservatives will tell you that “it didn’t work”. Maybe they can tell us what we got for our money with the attack and war in Iraq.

  14. Remember that the Conservatives will tell you that FDRs plan didn’t work either.

  15. What a dumb letter!

    In the first place we were not “under imminent threat from the “axis of evil.” The WMD Scare was proven to be TOTALLY BOGUS!!!

    In the last place, we did not “win this war.” The war was simply ended, and American troops withdrawn.

  16. BeerBoy – Libya under Bush’s policy = 20 brigades of Infantry, and of support troops.

    Obama’s policy was more like Clintons – anything but troops on the ground.

  17. concernedtacoma7 says:

    BB- thank you for a thought provoking comment.

    Libya/Egypt- stable govts at a minimum cooperative with the US. Today, both are a mess. For all the reasons left wanted us to ignor Iraq, they support BHOs intervention elsewhere.

    Iraq has/had very little to do with our economy. Annual deficits under Bush were much lower than under BHO, who inherited a war that was basically over.

    The 100,00 people line reminds me of ‘saved or created’ ref the stimulus. Saddam killed his own with little fanfare, in awesome numbers. Are the Iraqis better with 8 years if low intensity war behind them and freedom or if they stayed under Saddam?

  18. Actually Mr Glenn, George Bush had quite a bit of support internationally, AND domestically to go in there. If you remember, in the days after the 9-11 attack, nearly EVERYONE wanted Arab blood, nearly EVERYONE was waving American flags, nearly no one picked them up off the muddy wet roads when they blew off their car roofs into the ditch!

    The biggest mistake George Bush made was waiting nearly two years to get moving.

    While he had nearly full support of the public, he should have gone in and dealt a hard swift blow on 9-12, and wrapped things up on 9-13.

    Waiting around for the fickle public to get bored with it all, and the wacked out left to get into protest mode, he blew his chance.

  19. ReadNLearn says:

    Let’s see…

    Iraq and Afghanistan became the terrorists ‘wood stock’, anyone who was anyone in the terrorist social circles had to spend time there to get credibility and this gave us a crack at getting them or getting intel on them. One theory of Low Intensity Conflict is to set up a killing ground outside of your country to draw the heat there, reveal networks for Sig Int and Human Intelligence and it works. We lost some of our best people, which is a horrific price to pay, and we’ve killed tens of thousands of terrorists, identified more, and learned their funding and logistics.

    In contrast, during the same time we’ve spent three times more on welfare and subsidized utter failure, weakened our country and had MILLIONS of children born into poverty, encouraged by SNAP/EBT and other benefits being there. We’ve encouraged the Idiocracy of ensuring that the worse geometrically reproduce. So this money is not only wasted, each dollar spent created more need, more future criminals, more problems for society.

    It’s better to spend millions on defense than a penny on social programs.

  20. Hans,
    It cost us $709 million to take Iraq, BUT how much did it cosut us to STAY there for 9 years.

  21. “It’s better to spend millions on defense than a penny on social programs.”

    I cannot recall when I have ever read so few words that make up such a stupid statement as that one.

  22. Concerned,
    “Are the Iraqis better now than under Saddam?”
    Don’t be surprised if most Iraqis would tell you yes we were.

    DRC,
    Dubu and the US had internationally support after 9/11 for Afghanistan.
    His stupid, ill planed, unjust war in Iraq COST us that support.

  23. “Iraq and Afghanistan became the terrorists ‘wood stock’”

    Once we invaded Iraq

  24. “It’s better to spend millions on defense than a penny on social programs.”

    What a wonderful thought on the eve of the alleged birth of Jesus!

  25. “lost opportunity. A trillion dollars could have provided education through college to every child born here this decade”

    Well, how many times has there been lost opportunity (spending a trillon) since the Iraq War started?

  26. amjim, A trillion here. A trillion there. It all adds up and pretty soon you’re talking real money, you know?

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