Trump needs to apologise for criticising the Iraq War

President Donald Trump apparently needs to apologise to the American people for his criticism of the Iraq War.

As White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued on Wednesday, it is shameful for anyone to criticise a successful military operation, whether it be a raid in Yemen where an armchair general said “almost everything went wrong,” or war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere.

Yet Trump hasn’t always been so favourable toward military operations. A prominent talking point of his campaign was his claim that he was “totally against the war in Iraq.” In a 2004 interview with Esquire, he called the US military’s efforts there a “mess,” and said he would have never handled it the way President George W. Bush did.

Only years later, the “mess” that Trump described flourished into a budding democracy — free from terrorism — that conservatives such as Ann Coulter, one of his prominent supporters, called the “most magnificent United States foreign policy success in 50 years.” Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh railed against the media for convincing Americans of the Iraq War’s supposed failure.

Here’s how you should view the Iraq War, if you subscribe to the White House’s new standards: For anyone, including Trump — to suggest that the Iraq War was not a success does a disservice to the 4,411 service members who gave their lives in that war, and the 31,954 who were wounded.

They fought knowing what was at stake in that mission, which was accomplished on May 1, 2003.

Furthermore, anyone — anyone — who would suggest otherwise doesn’t fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was, and how that war will help prevent future terrorist attacks.

As we know, the Iraq War has completely decimated terror groups, denied them propaganda, and hurt their funding and recruitment.

Anyone who undermines the success of that war owes an apology to all those brave men and women who died. Any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to their courageous lives and the actions that they took.

Full stop.

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

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