Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iraq War Officially CLOSED Today - Did It Make a Difference?

Today is a significant date. After nearly 9 years of war in Iraq, the U.S. officially ended our involvement today - after nearly 4,500 service members were killed and over 150,000 Iraqis died.

Did it make a difference? I started the war as a TV terrorism analyst in Houston. It did eliminate Saddam Hussein as a dictator.

However, it also strengthened Iran's influence. Today the Shiites of Iran have great influence with the Shiite government of Iraq. People forget that in the 80's the U.S. supported Saddam in his war against Iran that lasted 8 years. Iraq was the keystone to keeping Iran from having too much influence in the Middle East. After the fall of Saddam Iran was free to pursue its nuclear program and to meddle in Iraq.

No Weapons of Mass Destruction were found. Iraq was not involved in 9/11. The cost: $1 Trillion dollars. Thousands of our troops came back with Post Traumatic Stress syndrome after having to serve multiple tours at huge cost to their family lives.

We could see a return to sectarian violence in Iraq - Muslim against Muslim as the old Sunni-Shiite rivalry begins anew. But that is their problem - not one where American lives should be put on the line.

We appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers who served. Never again should they be put in harm's way without sufficient troops and a plan -- or body armor -- in the way the Iraq war started. The dismissal of the Iraqi army (with their weapons) by Paul Bremer started the insurgency that generated a hellacious scene of carnage from IED's, car bombs, truck bombs and assassinations. Both American troops and Iraqi civilians paid a high price for these mistakes.

So today we finally close a chapter on a long war that cost us huge amounts of blood and treasure. Let's hope it is a lesson when the next Congressman, Senator or Presidential candidate calls for yet another war - with Iran or any other country.

We should have learned that its much easier to get into these black holes than it is to get out.

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