The Iraq Mistake

Dante Zappalla writes: Ask the sideline patriots why my brother had to die. Okey dokey.

Earlier this month the White House announced, with little fanfare, that the two-year search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had finally ended, and it acknowledged that no such weapons existed there at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Oops. It also says (incredibly, and I use that word most literally) that there have been no weapons there since 1991. Which means that this is a Clinton lie, not a Bush lie. I guess Bush’s biggest fault is that he believed MoveOn when they said that Clinton only lied about sex.

My brother was Sgt. Sherwood Baker. He was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard deployed a year ago with his unit out of Wilkes-Barre. He said goodbye to his wife and his 9-year-old son, boarded a bus and went to Fort Dix, N.J., to be hastily retrained.

His seven years of Guard training as a forward observer were practically worthless because he would not face combat. All he needed to do was learn how to not die.

He received a crash course in convoy security, including practice in running over cardboard cutouts of children. We bought him a GPS unit and walkie-talkies because he wasn’t supplied with them. In Iraq, Sherwood was assigned to the Iraq Survey Group and joined the search for weapons of mass destruction.

He was trained, not retrained. His previous training was still valuable — they were adding to it. As to practicing running over “cardboard cutouts of children”, I’m calling bullshit on this one. Assuming that we wanted to get by children with a convoy, why in the hell would the military want a soldier to run over a potential bomb?

You bought him a GPS and walkie-talkie because he wasn’t assigned a personal one, not because the Army was negligent. Is it great to have a GPS for every second man? Absolutely. It is a military necessity? Absolutely not. I would rather they spend that money on bombs and butter.

I’ll spare you him parading his dead brother’s carcass.

Even with every prewar assumption having been proved false, today more than 130,000 U.S. soldiers are trying to stay alive in a foreign desert with no clear mission at hand.

Absolutely. The things we can include in the “What we got wrong” category are:

  • There would be hundreds of thousands of American dead
  • The Iraqi people would fight to the last man
  • The France and Germany opposed the American intent for some reason other than the billions of dollars in stolen Oil-for-Food money
  • That democracy hasn’t taken hold already in Arabia because Arabs don’t want to be free
  • Al Queda doesn’t operate in Iraq

Oh, wait — those are things that guys like you got wrong.

At home, the sidelines are overcrowded with patriots. These Americans cower from the fight they instigated in Iraq. In a time of war and record budget deficits, many are loath to even pay their taxes. In the end, however, it is not their family members who are at risk, and they do not sit up at night pleading with fate to spare them.

I have a cousin that was on the front lines in Fallujah and Mosul fighting with the other Marines. I have another cousin who is one of those evil contractors, teaching Marines to be firefighters. In other words, fuck you you condescending piece of shit.

Change is vital. We must remind ourselves that the war with Iraq was not a mistake but rather a flagrant abuse of power by our leaders — and a case of shameful negligence by the rest of us for letting it happen. The consequence is more than a quagmire. The consequence is the death of our national treasure — our soldiers.

We are all accountable. We all share the responsibility of what has been destroyed in our name. Let us begin to right the wrongs we have done to our country by accepting that responsibility.

Iraqi elections are today. I’ll gladly take responsibility for the first free election in Iraq in… well, ever. I hope that in 20 years the Iraqis remember that you said it was a mistake.

(Via The Lizardoid Army)

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