To Our Armed Forces: Thank You

How jarring the headline sitting unobtrusively in the middle of the page on Boston.com last week: “US formally ends Iraq war with little fanfare.”

I cannot help but wonder what that headline – and the Associated Press article beneath, which emphasized the costs of the war to the virtual exclusion of its results – says about our culture at this particular moment in history.

Eight years, thousands of lives lost, countless acts of bravery and heroism (heralded and not), profound personal, financial and societal sacrifices.  And in the end, what?  A lot.

The foe our armed forces went overseas to fight in 2003 is no more.  The foe that arose in his wake, and that many (including here in this country) thought would out-last us?  Defeated also.  A country that in very recent memory was home to a brutally repressive dictator with aspirations of regional and even global dominance and all-too-cozy relationships with global terror networks now boasts a fledgling democracy; imperfect for sure, but orders of magnitude more promising than most dared hope as few as four years ago.

And yet now, as the “US formally ends Iraq war,” the press coverage (such as it is) seems almost… embarrassed. 

On the Today Show recently Vice President Biden had this to say about the end of the Iraq War:


We’re not claiming victory… What we’re claiming here is we’ve done our job the administration said it would do. To end a war we did not start, to end it in a responsible way … and to leave in place the prospect of a trained military, a trained security force under democratic institutions where the disparate parties for the first time are actually working together. 

Start with that pregnant “we.”  There was a time when the Vice President speaking on matters of war and peace spoke by default as a representative of the entire nation.  With that “we” he deliberately relegated himself to spokesman for the Obama Administration… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS

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