"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." (The Gettysburg Address)
No life is more wasted than one lost in vain.
After the U.S. military battled heroically to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship and to eliminate the possibility that it might become a staging area for terrorist attacks, the Obama administration has created a vacuum now being filled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaida affiliate, which has overrun Mosul and Fallujah, cities liberated by American soldiers. ISIS now threatens Baghdad.
The administration's nonpolicy policy proclaiming the war over, has given ISIS a green light to establish another terrorist state in the Middle East. Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, al-Qaida will likely have two states from which it can plan and execute new assaults on America, Israel, Britain and other "infidel" nations. Having declared the war(s) over and al-Qaida "on the run," President Obama responds with empty rhetoric about his national security team studying what to do, then leaves for a trip that will end on a golf course in Palm Springs.
Vice President Biden once called Iraq one of the president's "great achievements."
On Friday, the president announced the U.S. would not send military forces back to Iraq unless the Iraqi government finds a way to bridge sectarian differences. Even then, he suggested, military power alone won't bring stability to the country. Basically, the president said, "Iraq, you're on your own."
Imagine what the families of dead and wounded U.S. soldiers think about the sudden resurgence of al-Qaida in Iraq. They were told their sons and daughters died in a noble cause. According to "The Costs of War Project" at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, "The wars begun in 2001 have been tremendously painful for millions of people ... each additional month and year of war adds to that toll." The Rock River Times writes, "Coalition deaths in Iraq totaled more than 4,700, with the United States sustaining more than 4,480 deaths through the Iraq War's official end Dec. 15, 2011. More than 32,000 other U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq, while more than 134,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the course of the official war." The monetary cost is in the trillions of dollars. Are we now saying, "Never mind"?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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