American soldiers have, for more than 200 years, risked life and limb for their country. The politicians who recruited and sometimes conscripted the soldiers routinely painted military service in glorious terms: You are protecting America—even the entire world.
President George W. Bush continued in this tradition last Veterans Day. The Iraq occupation “is vital to the future security of our country,” he claimed. And not just that of America. He told troops at Fort Bragg that “you are making possible the security of free nations.”
Alas, it isn’t true. In fact, Americans are dying in a conflict that is making the United States and the rest of the world less, rather than more, secure.
Telling the truth about political machinations in Washington and U.S. foreign policy in no way denigrates the service of our troops. In fact, their patriotic loss demands political honesty.
We now know that Baghdad possessed no WMDs and was not involved in terrorist attacks on the United States. Thus, the war was not necessary for American security. It certainly did not make the world more secure.
The occupation is proving to be even worse. The invasion has turned Iraq into a terrorist training ground, creating a cadre of violent jihadists, many of whom are now bleeding back to their home countries.