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Friday, March 24, 2017

A step closer to peace on earth

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011, at 9:26 AM

"Peace on earth, good will toward all men...."

This is the season of peace for all Christians. And for the first time in nine years, Americans are no longer dying in combat in Iraq. The last soldier turned out the lights there Sunday and slipped into Kuwait on his way home for Christmas. All of America is thankful.

The only thing that mars the season is the war in Afghanistan, which the United States is trying to find a "face-saving" means of getting out of as fast as possible. Within two years, hopefully, we'll see the same smiles on the faces of American military families as they see the last of the troops in that troubled war zone come home. Maybe then, we can sit back and breathe, and enjoy a few years of peace for our overworked military.

The costs of the wars will be with us for a long time. Iraq, alone, cost more than $800 billion in direct costs, and an estimated $3 trillion to $4 trillion in VA care for the wounded and veterans' benefits.

We lost 4,487 military members in combat in Iraq, which makes the dollar amounts pale in comparison. Seven of those came from Elmore County.

A total of 31,921 troops were wounded in combat (and just under 9,000 others suffered non-combat injuries).

We lost 2,097 "civilian contractors" (OK, let's call them what they are -- mercenaries) that we'd hired to supplement our forces and provide security for allied and Iraqi dignitaries.

A total of 174 journalists died in the war.

And the Iraqis paid the greatest price of all, with what we believe is the most accurate estimate indicating 150,000 Iraqis died, mainly civilians (many estimates go much, much higher, and only the official U.S. military estimate is lower, at 103,000). No one knows for sure. In a nation of 12 million, that's a lot, however. The same percentage of loss, if applied to the United States, would be about 3.75 million dead.

Did we "win" the war? Hard to say.

We accomplished our goal of getting rid of Saddam, but it would be tough to argue we left a vibrant democracy behind. The Iraqi government is highly corrupt, fractured and divided along religious, ethnic and tribal lines, and barely functioning. Its future is not bright.

Some would argue Iran "won" the war, and there's some sense to that.

In 2000, other than the United States and Saudi Arabia, Iran's biggest headaches and direct enemies were Iraq, with which it had fought a major war from 1980-88, and Afghanistan, whose Taliban government was a constant annoyance in the border areas with Iran. The U.S. cleaned out both of those problems for Iran and left a government in Iraq that already is leaning toward and being influenced by Tehran. Iran came out ahead in Bush's two wars and didn't have to spend a dime to do it.

We'll debate for years whether going to war with Iraq was a good idea. The only thing that isn't up for debate is the skill, courage and determination of our armed forces. They did the job they were asked to do and they deserve high praise for how well they did it.

Like all Americans, we are glad to see them come home.

One war down, one still left to wrap up. But there may be hope that a season of peace is not too far away.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Merry Christmas to our troops. We appreciate the dedication and loyalty to our country.

Without you our freedoms would be compromised. Bless you in the coming year.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Wed, Dec 21, 2011, at 10:51 AM


-- Posted by lamont on Wed, Dec 21, 2011, at 10:06 PM

Mr. Everitt,

I will probably be banned for this comment, but what the heck.

I have served seven tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as a member of the Air Force. On the same token I work over here as a civilian contractor while still a member of the guard. To call contractors mercenaries is a bunch of horse crap. We do not participate in inherent military tasks. We don't look for combat.

99% of the contractors perform logistical jobs, that have nothing to do with fighting. Yes I run security for coalition bases but in doing so it reduces the number of troops required. But even running security it is strictly defensive to protect the troops living on base. These troops can be allocated to more important missions other than static security. Also you might want to check your dollar amounts and see which is cheaper for the government, contractors or soldiers. Because of retirement and benefits soldiers cost alot more money, plus it appeases people like yourself that there are less troops in country.

I have lost many of friends over here, Canadian, American, Coalition, Military and Civilian. It does not matter who they were affiliated with. I have to bring myself to believe they died for a cause and reason. Instead of making things politcal in every one of your editorials, why can't you just say lets remember the ones lost?

-- Posted by Conservative on Thu, Dec 22, 2011, at 12:54 AM

Well said.

-- Posted by arsenal on Fri, Dec 23, 2011, at 6:50 AM

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Brian S. Orban
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