10 Years and a Wake-up

On this date 10 years ago (the evening March 19, 2003, here in the USA) the invasion of Iraq began. At that time I supported the war. I was not alone. A Gallup Poll taken right after the war started showed 76% of Americans supported the war.

The Great Falls (MT) Tribune is asking their readers this morning, “Was the Iraq War a mistake?” The answer to that question is really pretty simple: It was a mistake. 10 years ago most folks believed it was the right thing to do because almost everyone believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they feared he would use them.

It’s OK to Monday morning quarterback the Iraq War to prevent us from repeating those mistakes.

It seemed almost everywhere we looked back then someone was beating the war drum to take out Saddam Hussein – both Democrats and Republicans – and it became a slippery slope. Around 40 governments participated (in some capacity) in the Iraq War.

For some reason the checks and balances that normally strangle our government (and other governments) failed. It’s interesting to watch some of the news networks today playing clips of politicians from both parties saying in 2003 that we needed to take Saddam Hussein out. There were also several other reasons that were put forth by George W. Bush’s Administration to go to war with Iraq besides finding the weapons of mass destruction: Saddam Hussein’s regime needed to end, supposedly there were terrorists in the country, and we need to do it to help the Iraq people form a representative government.

During the past 10 years we’ve seen reports of military personnel being killed in action. We were sad, but the act of war really hit home when that military person was a recent graduate from the local high school or he had lived just down the road in our small town. As one who attended several military funerals, my heart was broken for the families of those killed in the war.

We’ve seen military personnel return to the civilian world after suffering severe injuries fighting for us.

Sadly, we now see that our Department of Veterans Affairs is failing to take care of those injured. Paul Rieckhoff, who is CEO and Founder of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America today writes that the “Claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs that has exploded by 2,000% since President Obama took office and now has nearly 900,000 disability claims pending.”

First time claims are taking almost a year, Rieckhoff writes.

Every elected official in Washington should be spitting mad at having 900,000 disability claims pending at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead of funding new buildings, it’s time to provide adequate funding and order the Secretary of the VA to hire a sufficient number of VA claims officers to handle the backlog of claims. This problem could easily be solved in one year if it was addressed properly by the current Administration and the United States Senate and House.

It’s time for those people to wake-up and understand that the commitment to our military personnel does not end when they step back on American soil…


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One Comment

  1. The intelligence of the day supported a WMD presence in Iraq and Saddam was a threat to the world. Based on what we knew then, it was the right decision. As a MMQB 10 years later, the intelligence was wrong. It was that distraction and Afganistan that gave Iran the chance to move ahead with their program. I beeive what we know about Iran is corrent and they are a threat to us and Isreal.

    How we treat our returning solders is a disgrace. I would gladly pay more in taxes to provide better pay for active service and it is our obligation to take care of our soldiers when they come home. My dad was a soldier and I was a military brat, so I have an good understanding of what they go though for so little in return.

    Jack, a good column today. I hope all read it and send it to their public officials and this administration.


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