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Steven Kurlander: False sacrifices: Debating the wrong question on Iraq

Recently on Memorial Day, Americans honored the sacrifices of those American soldiers who fought and died in the various wars and “conflicts” of our nation.

This year, like last year, and the year before, we also honored the many soldiers who made sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

America has been at undeclared war since the September 11th attacks, and as we continue to fight on, openly or surreptitiously, against Islamic “terrorism” around the globe.

And this year, after learning about Iraqi troops losing the Anbar province to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many Americans asked once again why we got involved in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. Or whether the blood of our soldiers spilled in these theaters of war have been callously expended and in vain.

As ISIS marched into Mosul, where many Americans sacrificed their lives to liberate and safeguard the city, undeclared presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked whether he would have committed troops like his brother did.  While Jeb was perceived as not answering the question as well as he should have, and spent a week correcting himself, he properly framed what the Iraq talking point should be in 2015:

“The focus should be ‘Knowing what we know now, Mr. President, should you have kept 10,000 troops in Iraq?’” Bush said.  “ISIS didn’t exist when my brother was president. Al Qaeda in Iraq was wiped out when my brother was president. There were mistakes made in Iraq for sure, but the surge created a fragile but stable Iraq that the president could have built on and it would have not allowed ISIS [to grow].”

Here’s the bottom line: Bush is right. We should have left American troops to stabilize and safeguard Iraq and defined our mission there in terms of decades, not in terms of months.  The same is true of Afghanistan.

Now, ISIS poses a major threat to our national security interests and the entire Middle East.

“Every day that goes by, the cost of liberating Iraq or the cost of defeating this cancer is only going to increase,” he said. “So I think we have to do the force that’s proportionate or, frankly, the violence proportionate that’s necessary to push back ISIS,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on a State of the Nation appearance. .

We also should be asking whether the United States should be more succinctly defining a new foreign policy to bring stability to the Mideast and other regions of the world and safeguard the security of our alleged allies in Europe and Asia.

America needs to commit troops now back in Iraq, and plan to stay there for a long time. World public opinion and political correctness be damned. Our military needs to attack ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria, with unrestrained military might.

In terms of being the world’s policeman, America needs to grow its balls back.

It’s time to remind the world of our power and military might. In the face of the growing influence and military power of Communist China, fascist Islamic radicalism, and a new Russia embracing dangerous nationalism and dictatorship, Americans enamored with Bruce Jenner’s sex change also need to wake up to new, very dangerous threats to our nation’s existence.

Iraq is the right place to start and to begin repairing our perception of weakness in the world.

Obama and his advisers entrenched in a failing internationalist foreign and military policy have made a very poor judgment call pulling our troops out and declaring the war over.  It was folly to expect a nation historically hampered by deep religious, tribal and sectarian violence and division to not only present a viable defense to radical ISIS, but as a nation, which takes decades, if not centuries to evolve as a democratic nation.

American soldiers should not continue to spill their blood in Afghanistan and the rest of the world for bad, obtuse foreign policy and national security objectives that now exist under the Obama Doctrine.

Instead, on future Memorial Days, their sacrifices should be celebrated and honored once again for a more defined, even noble, goal of safeguarding human rights and promoting good democratic and economic objectives for both Americans at home and those living under brutal regimes around the world.

Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly’s Kommentary ( and writes for Context Florida and The Huffington Post and can be found on Twitter @Kurlykomments. He lives in Monticello, N.Y. Column courtesy of Context Florida.


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