Photo: Geoffrey Ingersoll
As America marks the 10th anniversary of our costly and ineffective war in Iraq, I am mourning a different anniversary, too.Two years ago my mother was killed in a car accident.
A doctor’s wife, carting five 15 year-old kids to an extracurricular activity, flew through a red light, and her SUV barreled broadside into my mother’s tiny Ford sedan.
The images are hard to forget. The beaded glass on the ground. The “Marine mum” licence plate hanging, bent, from the front bumper. The lack of skid marks. The twisted metal.
It reminded me of a war zone.
We never got an apology from the driver. My guess is that her squad of lawyers told her that apologizing might make her look guilty.
You might be able to see what this has to do with the Iraq War. And so would my mother.
Despite sending three sons into the Marine Corps, my mother was a life-long leftist, a borderline hippie. My grandfather, a successful car executive, called her a “Cadillac Liberal.”
Among my mother’s chief complaints was that Iraq was an illegal war, a war started on false premises by leaders who knew they were misleading the country. I think, in some way, though she never told me so, my mother hoped I would go to Iraq as a Marine and use what I had seen to expose the war for what it was, or at the very least use that knowledge to try and prevent more wars like it from happening.
Here we are though, at the 10th anniversary of the invasion, and we’re still at war. And there’s a growing mountain of evidence that we were deceived into going to war and that our leaders were fully and cynically aware that they were deceiving us.
Photo: Geoffrey Ingersoll
But there are a lot of leaders that the world would be better off without, and we don’t start wars to get rid of them.
The media doesn’t help. The same outlets that advocated the war now sit atop a moral mountaintop, pointing out all of the blemishes on the face of the operation: Drones bombing kids; Marines pissing on corpses; And now, today, the illegitimacy of the Bush administration’s claims of Iraqi nuclear WMDs.
But despite the media frenzy and growing evidence of deception, no one expects there to be charges or prosecutions.
At the very least, the people who were at the wheel when we declared war on Iraq should accept responsibility for their mistakes. And we should hold them accountable for them.
Until we as a people decide it’s time to hold our leaders, civic and private, responsible for their recklessness, all we can expect is more of the same.
Over the past decade, 4,500 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Estimates of the overall death toll from the war range from 100,000 to more than 1 million.
My little brother was 10 when 9/11 happened. Now he’s headed on his first deployment with the Marines. I would like to believe my brother will be fighting a just war–for leaders who can take responsibility for their mistakes.
But, so far, no one who took us into this war has had the guts to do that.
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