An Argument about Iraq That Conservatives Need to Avoid

Back on September 6, 2013, I wrote thus about Iraq:

We went to Iraq and overthrew a secular dictator. After spending American blood and treasure, as well as getting multitudes of Iraqi civilians killed, we now have left in place a majority Shiite nation that is a natural ally to Iran. It is now run with secret police, secret prisons, and the use of torture and rape as political tools. Furthermore, while Al Qaeda was kept out of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, it is now so entrenched that it presents a major threat both in Iraq and Syria.

Thus, recent history suggests we are overthrowing a ruthless secular dictator to replace it with some kind of Al Qaeda zombie apocalypse.

So now that we are dealing with a spectacular “Al Qaeda zombie apocalypse” I am seeing headlines that I find very disturbing.  One example is this one at ABC News: “U.S. Vets watch in frustration as insurgents undo sacrifices in Iraq.” I completely agree they should be frustrated, but they have had reason to be frustrated for years.

For an entire night, Marine Sgt. Colin Archipley crouched low atop a roof as U.S. artillery slammed insurgent hideouts in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Lima Company had already taken heavy casualties, and dozens of American soldiers would be killed before the house-by-house battles ended in late 2004.

[…]

Nearly a decade later, he watched in frustration from his organic farm north of San Diego as an al Qaeda splinter group seized control of Fallujah, Mosul and other Iraq cities that Archipley and his comrades risked so much to protect.

Iraq’s opportunity “was squandered,” he said. “I’m not sure what else we could have done.”

This week’s stunning advance left many U.S. veterans reflecting – with bitterness, frustration and sadness – on the sacrifices of a war that lasted for more than eight years and killed nearly 4,500 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

“In many ways it just feels like a waste – a waste of many lives, a waste of many years,” said retired Army Col. Barry Johnson from his home in Potlatch, Idaho.

It was a waste, but that was true before this inevitable invasion ever took place. Not one drop of American blood should have been shed to invade a country and turn it into a Shiite dictatorship with secret police, torture, and Christians fleeing for their lives. We weren’t told we were fighting and dying and killing to bring about that kind of country.

I certainly think that Iraq’s horrible government was better than what these much worse extremists are going to impose. But it still wasn’t something that made American sacrifices “worth it.”