Letter: The price of a big mistake
The problem in Iraq is not that we left too soon. The problem is that we went there in 2003. We destabilized the country and made it an attractive target for terrorist insurgents.
The fallout of the Iraq invasion has been disastrous. We lost more than 4,000 lives, with 35,000 maimed, countless psychiatric casualties and a waiting list for services at VA medical centers that has overwhelmed a fragile system. Then there was the financial cost of an estimated 2 trillion dollars.
The damage to Iraq has been worse, with fatalities and injuries in the hundreds of thousands. The lesson is not to become involved in sectarian conflict that has been going on for a millennium. Iraq was not a security threat to the United States in 2003. It played no role in the terror attacks of Sept. 11 and no WMDs were found. Now, in part because of our lack of foresight, it may be becoming a threat, demanding even more involvement at a time when we need to rebuild our own infrastructure and address pressing domestic needs. As General Powell said at the time, if we break Iraq, we own it. Sadly, this has become the case.
A little known politician from Illinois, who has since been described by some as feckless, had the courage to speak out against the invasion when other Democrats and the whole Republican Party were willing to jump on board. His name was Barack Obama. If only we had listened to him then.