In the first two 2016 presidential debates, the Iraq War has been a seemingly hot-button topic with Democratic nominee and former Sen. Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee and business mogul Donald Trump repeatedly referring to it as a mistake that never should have happened.
But here’s the thing: It did happen, and it can’t be undone.
Among the 50 Democratic senators in office in 2002, 29 voted yes to enter Iraq. Clinton was one of them. Overall, 297 congressmen and 77 senators made the decision that sealed the fates of 4,506 fallen American service members.
And although Trump continues to deny any proclamations of support for the war, scores of sources have debunked his claims. At best, they say, “There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the U.S. invaded. Rather, he offered lukewarm support.”
Whether or not Clinton or Trump supported or opposed the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, however, is irrelevant. Neither was the sole orchestrator of the war, and its failure doesn’t belong to them. But if either candidate wishes to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces, they will be entirely responsible for the service members who fought in Iraq and their families, who frankly deserve better than what we’ve seen thus far.
Hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to the Iraq War. But instead of continuously looking back and suggesting what they could have, would have, or should have done, politicians of the modern era need to start looking forward and addressing what they’re going do to ensure we don’t repeat those mistakes.
The reality is that the Iraq War was a failure — and we can never take it back — but our politicians have a duty to own that, and they need to instead be talking about how to fix the problems it left behind.
The next president will be the steward of the war’s legacy and shape how we treat the veterans who fought in its battles. And as we await the third and final debate of 2016, the national conversation about the Iraq War needs to shift away from calling it a mistake, to what we can do for the men and women who offered their lives to that failing cause, and what we’re going to do differently in Iraq when dealing with the Islamic State in the months and years to come.
The decision we made as a nation in 2002 cost our troops limbs, loved ones, and even many of their lives, and that’s a hell of a lot more to lose than an election.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.