With the “Zero Option” exercised and the rise of ISIS, I hear a lot of veterans wondering if we wasted our time in Iraq. Did we leave our families for years at a time for nothing? Did our friends spend their limbs and their lives only to watch Iraq fall back into the hands of despotic jihadis who murder women, children, and the defenseless?
It’s a question I too struggle with, as a citizen.
As a soldier it was neither my job nor within my ability to turn Iraq into a nation of law and order, a strong, prosperous, and peaceful nation. That was for the diplomats and the politicians of the world.
My job as a soldier is to kill the enemy and break their things. I did that. We all did that. We all did it very well. We did it in the streets, we did it in the desert and in the mountains. We did it from the air and on the ground. We did it in the classroom. We even did it from cubicles thousands of miles away.
We did it with a precision that cannot be achieved by any means other than with live soldiers on the ground. That is why we exist, to be a fine tool in the hands of our political leaders.
My fellow veterans, you cannot blame the hammer for a bent nail, splintered wood, or a house collapsing on itself.
If the current state of Iraq is a failure it is not ours. We achieved the goals we were given with honor. We sacrificed ourselves for the missions, for the innocent, and for our brothers. We were overwhelmingly successful.
The next time a reporter asks you if you feel that your effort in Iraq was wasted, laugh at them. Of course it wasn’t. We won every battle, hard or easy, big or small. Every enemy fighter we put down is one less to inflict murderous evil upon the world.
As soldiers we accomplished the missions we were given.
Instead ask the politicians if they accomplished their goals. Ask them if they feel their efforts were wasted. This may confuse them as they are not used to thinking of their efforts as all that much compared with what we soldiers put in.
Perhaps that is a problem.