We are proud that Florida Veterans for Common Sense formed in opposition to the Iraq invasion.
How times change. When we first spoke out, we were one of the few veterans groups to do so. Now, almost everybody believes the Iraq invasion was mistake, others believe it was a blunder of historical proportions and that reasonable evidence supports the fact that the Bush administration fabricated ‘intelligence’ to justify the invasion.
Before the invasion, FLVCS predicted the most likely outcome. Unfortunately, we were correct. In short, the invasion resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and destroyed much of its infrastructure. As a result, the invasion destabilized Iraq and perhaps the entire region.
Worst of all, the cost to America has been horrendous. Over 4,000 brave troops are dead and hundreds of thousands are wounded, maimed, injured or made ill as a result of the invasion and occupation. When the cost for caring for the veterans is included, the financial cost may run up to five trillion dollars according to Nobel Laureate economist, Joseph Stiglitz.
Apparently, we’ve learned little from the Iraq invasion.
Many people now call, yet again, for military intervention in Iraq and Syria. Again, we predict that the result will be more horror, less stability, unexpected costs, and a less secure America.
Note that those who now call for military intervention are many of the same ones who pushed for the Iraq invasion. Like before, they fail to set out the objective with specificity. They use generalities like supporting and arming moderates. Rarely, if ever, do they identify the so called moderates they want to arm. In any event, those we call moderates today may attack us tomorrow just as our former ally Bin Laden did on 9/11. Likewise, those who push for military intervention fail to calculate costs, or consider more productive alternatives.
Sometimes, and perhaps most times, military intervention in the affairs of other countries and regions is counterproductive–Vietnam and Iraq are prime examples. Of course, it’s often frustrating to stay on the sidelines militarily when that option is so available and tempting to use.
If we embroil ourselves militarily in the Syrian and Iraq civil wars, the likely result is that we’ll generate more enemies, increase instability in the region, and increase the terrorist threat to America.
Instead of the using the military, a better way forward is aid to the displaced, diplomatic initiatives to encourage stability, insistence on compliance with international law, and accountability for those who violate international law. We need to sign on with the International Criminal Court.
First and foremost, America should set an example. The invasion of Iraq showed the world that while we talk about peace, security, and the rule of law, we behave differently. America must be a law abiding country that practices what we preach.
State Rep. Steube (R) in a guest column to the Sarasota Herald Tribune advocates for more military intervention. He blames President Obama for the instability in Iraq and Syria. His guest column can be found at: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140626/COLUMNIST/306269998/0/search
The FLVCS Response can be found at: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140630/COLUMNIST/306309999/0/search
Please take action:
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