A Day of Dishonor
by Laurence M. Vance: Should
Christians Support the War on Drugs?
The ninth anniversary
of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has come and gone, and with little
The Iraq War
should never have had a first anniversary. President Bush announced
on May 1, 2003 – in front of a "Mission Accomplished"
banner – that "the United States and our allies have prevailed"
and "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." If the war
had ended then, it would have resulted in the deaths of "only"
140 U.S. soldiers.
But, of course,
it didn’t end. Just like it didn’t end on August 31, 2010, when
President Obama proclaimed that "the American combat mission
in Iraq has ended" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom is over,
and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security
of their country." By that time 4,420 U.S. soldiers had died
for a lie.
The war in
Iraq did not "officially" end until December 18, 2011,
after 4,484 U.S. soldiers had died
in vain. The war lasted more than twice as long as the U.S.
war against Nazi Germany in World War II.
I first wrote
about the Iraq War on its third anniversary ("Weapons
of Mass Distraction") when 2,317 American soldiers had already
died. When I wrote about the war on its fourth anniversary ("Four
Years, Four Plans"), that number had risen to 3,218. On the
Years and Counting"), the number was up to 3,992. On the sixth
Happened to the War?"), it was up to 4,259. On the war’s seventh
Forgotten War"), that number had risen to 4,385. Last year,
on the war’s eighth anniversary ("When
Will the Iraq War Really End?"), the number of U.S. soldiers
who had died was up to 4,439.
I would not
have written anything about the Iraq War this year had not President
Obama just proclaimed the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion
of Iraq to be a National
Day of Honor:
ago, members of the United States Armed Forces crossed the sands
of the Iraq-Kuwait border and began one of the most challenging
missions our military has ever known. They left the comforts of
home and family, volunteering in service to a cause greater than
themselves. They braved insurgency and sectarian strife, knowing
too well the danger of combat and the cost of conflict. Yet, through
the dust and din and the fog of war, they never lost their resolve.
Demonstrating unshakable fortitude and unwavering commitment to
duty, our men and women in uniform served tour after tour, fighting
block by block to help the Iraqi people seize the chance for a
better future. And on December 18, 2011, their mission came to
honor their success, their service, and their sacrifice. In one
of our Nation’s longest wars, veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom
and Operation New Dawn wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters
in American military history. When highways became mine fields
and uncertainty waited behind every corner, service members rose
to meet the task at hand with unmatched courage and determination.
They learned languages and cultures, taking on new roles as diplomats
and development experts to improve the communities where they
served. Their strength toppled a tyrant, and their valor helped
build opportunity in oppression’s place. Across nearly 9 years
of conflict, the glory of their service – as well as the contributions
of other members of the U.S. Government and our coalition partners
– always shone through.
The war left
wounds not always seen, but forever felt. The burden of distance
and the pain of loss weighed heavily on the hearts of millions
at home and overseas. Behind every member of our military stood
a parent, a spouse, or a son or daughter who proudly served their
community and prayed for their loved one’s safe return. For wounded
warriors, coming home marked the end of one battle and the beginning
of another – to stand, to walk, to recover, and to serve again.
And, in war’s most profound cost, there were those who never came
home. Separated by time and space but united by their love of
country, nearly 4,500 men and women are eternally bound; though
we have laid them to rest, they will live on in the soul of our
Nation now and forever. To them, to their families, and to all
who served, we owe a debt that can never be fully repaid.
When we returned
the colors of United States Forces-Iraq and the last of our troops
set foot on American soil, we reflected on the extraordinary service
and sacrifice of those who answered our country’s call. Their
example embodied that fundamental American faith that tells us
no mission is too hard, no challenge is too great, and that through
tests and through trials, we will always emerge stronger than
before. Now, our Nation reaffirms our commitment to serve veterans
of Iraq as well as they served us – to uphold the sacred trust
we share with all who have worn the uniform. Our future is brighter
for their service, and today, we express our gratitude by saying
once more: Welcome home.
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by
virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 19, 2012,
as a National Day of Honor. I call upon all Americans to observe
this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities
that commemorate the return of the United States Armed Forces
WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of March,
in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
should have proclaimed a National Day of Dishonor. There is nothing
honorable about the War in Iraq. It was unconstitutional, immoral,
unjust, senseless, unnecessary, aggressive, irresponsible, and destructive.
of the U.S. Armed Forces left "the comforts of home and family,"
but what was this "cause greater than themselves" that
the president is saying they volunteered for? He mentions the U.S.
military helping "the Iraqi people seize the chance for a better
future," toppling "a tyrant," and building "opportunity
in oppression’s place."
And those things
were worth the deaths of 4,484 American soldiers? Are those things
worth hundreds of thousands of Iraq War vets suffering from PTSD
or traumatic brain injuries? Are those things worth thousands of
U.S. soldiers missing an arm or a leg, or both? Are those things
worth the thousands of war veterans who will need a lifetime of
medical and/or psychiatric care? Are those things worth the buckets
of tears that Americans have shed over the deaths of their loved
ones in Iraq? Are those things worth the deaths of more Iraqis than
had ever been killed under Saddam Hussein?
The only cause
U.S. troops were fighting for was the cause of an aggressive, belligerent,
and meddling foreign policy of empire, imperialism, and hegemony.
matter what was going on in Iraq. It doesn’t matter how brutal a
dictator Saddam Hussein was. It doesn’t matter if women were oppressed
in Iraq. It doesn’t matter if religious minorities were persecuted
in Iraq. It doesn’t matter if Iraq was a threat to Kuwait. It doesn’t
matter if sectarian violence plagued Iraq. It doesn’t matter if
Saddam Hussein gassed his own people. It doesn’t matter if Iraqis
didn’t have freedom. It doesn’t matter if Iraq had sham elections.
It doesn’t matter if the Iraqi government tortured Iraqis. It doesn’t
matter if Iraq didn’t have a representative government. It doesn’t
matter what weapons Iraq had. It doesn’t matter if Iraq defied the
any or all of these things was not worth one drop of blood from
one American solider. Not a scratch, a scrape, or a paper cut. And
I am the one who has been called unpatriotic?
U.S. military should be limited to the actual defense of the United
States, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is not a day of
honor. It is a day of infamy, embarrassment, shame, ignominy, and
M. Vance [send him mail]
writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity
and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The
Revolution that Wasn't, and Rethinking
the Good War. His latest book is The
Quatercentenary of the King James Bible. Visit his
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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