Your Opinion: Additional thoughts on war in Iraq

Dear Editor:

On June 29, I submitted that our decision to wage war upon Iraq was folly. We ignored a sectarian dispute that has fostered internecine bloodletting for a millennium and the failure of the Bush administration to recognize this reality essentially doomed the effort from the moment the first bomb fell.

Most Americans have come to agree that this war of choice was neither wise nor worth the blood and treasure. Equally, most Americans agree with the president’s decision to withdraw. Iraqis must resolve this problem that we in our hubris created but regrettably cannot fix. Diplomacy is the most effective arrow in our quiver and Sunni and Shia alone must fix the disaster Bush’s war spawned.

The disintegration of Iraq we are watching is directly traceable to that decision and anyone with a degree of familiarity with this thousand-year conflict could have foreseen that the depressed Shia under Sadaam would eventually seek reprisal. Prime Minister Maliki did not disappoint.

The first unique response to this post came on the evening of the post when an unidentified caller at my home after confirming he had the correct target essentially told me that I needed to get a life, that I needed to shut the [expletive deleted] up and to just go away. He then disconnected.

My first response was dismay that the person so enraged did not have the courage to identify himself, since caller ID was blocked. As I calmed my wife and considered the experience, the simple fact that the unidentified caller seemed to miss was that the core concern I wished to express in my post was distress at the 4,500 lives lost and the 30,000 veterans who came home without arms and legs or with crippling head injuries. Throw in the $2-4 trillion in eventual, final costs and nothing about this ill-advised adventure made any sense.

At 65, I witnessed the blood and treasure being squandered in Vietnam for almost 10 years and I fundamentally concluded that war, though it should never be casually excluded as a tool in our arsenal, must never become the knee-jerk reaction to every problem or confrontation.

Simply we can afford neither the treasured lives lost or destroyed nor can our treasury sustain the full costs at every turn simply to satisfy a testosterone-fueled exercise of military power.

We may have the strongest hammer but not every problem is a nail.

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