December 15, 2011
By Sinclair Soul
Yesterday at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, President Obama told troops it was “harder to end a war than to begin one” as he marked the end of the war in Iraq. “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people,” said the President, apparently paying homage to his predecessor George W. Bush without actually uttering his name. It was the Bush administration whom set this timeline during the “surge” plan five years ago, and to Obama’s credit, he was able to stick to that plan.
Many have been critical of this end to operations in Iraq, with virtually no combat forces left to quill any further insurrection. But I’m going to take an optimistic view. Call me naive, but I don’t ever wish to see another one of our troops in harm’s way in Mesopotamia. We have been in differing degrees of conflict there for twenty-one years, directly on the ground for nearly nine of those. The Iraq War was front page news virtually everyday during the first four years when there was a major insurgency and the bulk of the overall American casualties. But since the success of the 2007 surge led by General David Petraeus, the news coverage of the war has dwindled to near nothing. Even today with the actual end being met, it seems to be buried in the news coverage. Personally, I’d like to to be shouting with jubulation like the end of this infamous Doors song – War is over! All over baby! All over!
Whether or not this is a truly a historic day or just another event in the longer string of conflicts in the Middle East remains to be seen, but I’m going to take an optimistic view. History will judge the merits of the war itself and whether it was worth it. It is really hard to coldly judge the value of any human life or even life altering injury. But if you stack the Iraq War against America’s last major conflict – the Vietnam War, you’ll find the ultimate casualties to be less than one tenth while the end result appears to be much more favorable. Again, history will ultimately judge but I am optimistic. Let’s hope our next major conflict takes less than one tenth of the lives of this one.
History will also judge some of the major players in this war, especially on the political side. I’m a conservative but I think we may have a better Defense Secretary at the end of the war in Leon Panetta then we did at the beginning with Donald Rumsfeld. And the disgusting comments of “little” Dick Durbin or the late blowhard John Murtha among others, who were so quick to paint our troops with a wide brush due to the transgressions (either real or imagined) of an extreme minority, these will also be deliberated by future historians.
So today I am just happy to say; “War Is Over!”
Sinclair Soul is a championship-level background singer and now political columnist for BigBlueBullfrog.com. His column, “The Soul of the Nation” thoroughly examines the state of American politics and culture from a Soul perspective.