Back in 2006 my neighbor’s son was killed in Iraq by an IED – Improvised Explosive Device. I attended the funeral at the family’s Protestant church in Costa Mesa. He and his identical twin brother had joined the military shortly after 9/11 to defend America. The surviving brother also was fighting in Iraq. The military wouldn’t let him come home for the funeral. A eulogy was given by the local congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who talked about sacrificing for freedom; a couple years later he came out against the war. The family put one of those remembrance decals on the back window of their Ford. Shortly after they moved away.
I always think of that young man whenever some big news comes out about Iraq, such as the recent reports on the ISIS al Qaeda affiliate taking over large areas of Iraq the U.S. military had conquered a decade ago. It was all for nothing, people are saying. Congress now has some Iraq War veterans. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said, “Going out across the desert I remember the feelings that you have, wondering if you're going to make it out alive. Right now I wonder what that was all about. What was the point of all of that?"
Even Americans who didn’t know anyone who died have suffered. The latest Harvard estimate is that when everything is added up – including the cost for veterans’ care, and interest on the money borrowed from China to pay it all – the amounts are about $5 trillion was for the Iraq war, $1 trillion for the equally pointless Afghanistan War. Total: $6 trillion.
That $6,000,000,000,000.00 works out to about $20,000 for every American. For a family of five, it’s $100,000. Could your family put better use to that $100,000 than the U.S. government did?
Those who started and conducted the war have received no punishment, only a little ridicule. Bush, Cheney, Condi, Rummy, Colin, Wolfie and the other Masters of War, if there were justice, would be on trial for the deaths of more than 4,000 American troops, the maiming and paralyzing of tens of thousands more, and the deaths of nearly 500,000 Iraqis – and counting.
And if there were justice, the military-industrial complex – You that build all the guns / You that build the death planes / You that build all the bombs / You that hide behind walls / You that hide behind desks – would go on trial as well, and spend the rest of their lives not in country clubs, but as paupers.
And if there were justice, no one any longer would read the warmongers, left and right, who pushed the war: National Review, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, etc.
And if there were justice, every representative and senator who backed the war would have been thrown from office, unable to hold any position of employment besides greeter at Walmart.
But there isn’t any justice in this world. That comes in the next.
John C. Seiler, Jr., writes from California.