This past Thursday marked the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War and as we sit here and look around we ask ourselves, are we better off today than five years ago?
Never in the history of the United States has the U.S. gone to war without provocation. This was the first ever “Preemptive War” ever undertaken. The singular reason for this war was that we were led to believe that Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction!
This past Tuesday President George W. Bush declared that the United States was winning the war on terrorism and that there would be no retreat, no backing down until the war is won. President Bush did concede that this war has taken longer than expected and is costing more than anticipated. The original message was that the war would not exceed $600 million, today we are looking at $3 trillion dollars! President Bush made this speech at the Pentagon.
What we know is that there were never any Weapons of Mass Destruction, no chemical or biological threat; we were lied to about this. There were no terrorist ties with Iraq. There was no nuclear development going on. Each perceived reason for going to war unraveled and as such the strategy and rational to continue fighting shifted to one of human rights issues.
So far the only goal achieved has been the removal of Saddam Hussein and his oppressive government, but at what cost?
4000 American soldiers have died, this does not count civilian deaths from private companies, nor does it count other deaths of American soldiers in Iraqi that may not have occurred directly from the war. The number of wounded during the war is estimated at 30,000. And it is unknown how many are and will suffer post war traumatic symptoms.
The loss of American life and the number of wounded is dwarfed by the deaths of Iraqis, estimated at 150,000 and the number of wounded which is unknown.
The country of Iraq was devastated with constant bombardment by the coalition forces as Americans sat in front of their televisions as the main cities of Iraq were destroyed. It took just 21 days for the coalition forces to take down the entire country. In May 2003 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.” That should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t!
After destroying this country, literally and figuratively, America was stuck in Iraqi. Our hands were tied. We had to stay and help stabilize and re-build the country and President Bush was on a path of nation-building not only in Iraqi but in Afghanistan as well.
Five years in Iraqi and America is not any closer to winning this war than they were in 2003. President Bush proclaimed that we are well on our way to winning this war but he did not define when or how we will know when we have won. We are stuck in a quagmire and President Bush is going to leave the question on a victory up to the next President. Till then more money will be spent on this war and more lives will be lost.
The question we asked, ‘are we better off today after five years of fighting in Iraqi?’ The answer seems self evident NO!