We took Afghanistan and remain there to this day at a cost of under 300 American lives.
We took and continue to hold Iraq for over two and a half years at a cost of around 2,000 American dead. While the body count continues to grow in both operations, the cost in American human life has yet to reach the number of lives lost on 9/11 in just a couple of hours due to terrorism.
Both Afghanistan and Iraq provided the US with an excuse for the US to attack them.
The accomplishment highly outweighs the price paid in terms of American lives lost, not only on the American side, but on the Iraqi side also. The cost however is extremely high for the individual families of those killed and injured, as each one of those deaths and injuries is a tragedy for that soldier’s family and friends. However, America as a whole, all 300 million of us, benefit greatly from the sacrifice of the 2,000 and all the others who continue to fight to protect America. We should all be very greatful that there are so many willing to take up arms for America.
One number not being counted by the press and anti-war crowd is the lives that have not ended as a result of the US War against Terror. Would there have been another 9/11? Would 2,000 soldier’s lives lost be worth preventing another 9/11? What about Saddam’s killings? There was no shortage of state-sponsored murder in Saddam’s Iraq. The cost of our war dead did result in a changed world, which over time will be much better than the one that included Sadam.
I see no mention in the press of the toll that other nations whose soldiers are serving in Iraq have paid. Soldiers from the UK, Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Netherlands, Estonia, Thailand, El Salvador, Latvia, Denmark and Hungary have all suffered casualties in Iraq.
Also, there is another issue that needs to be addressed that so far appears to have been overlooked. Saddam did not believe that the US would actually invade Iraq. He was paying off the Russians and the French, who managed to get the Germans and Chinese to stand up for Saddam with them and they did a great job of subverting any action coming out of the UN Security Council. Then there were the hundreds of thousands of anti-war (anti-Bush) protestors protesting against the US around the world. Then there were the many intrepid people who traveled to Baghdad to act as human shields for Saddam. Not only did these groups not prevent the war, they probably helped make it a reality by giving Saddam false hope that world pressure would protect him, despite his utter failure to come clean in accordance with Security Council Resolutions.
“Senior (Iraqi) military officers and former Regime officials were uncertain about the existence of WMD during the sanctions period and the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom because Saddam sent mixed messages.” - Page 94, WMD Report
For peaceful solutions to work, you need a cooperative party on the other side who is also willing to work towards a peaceful outcome. In the case of Libya, both sides were able to work together. We did not have that in Iraq, nor did we in Afghanistan. We do not seem to have governments conductive to peaceful outcomes in Iran or North Korea either. So the next time you start shouting “War is not the answer” do be sure that both sides get the message. (That doesn’t mean Republican and Democrat.)
Iraq War Casualties
The Connection between Iraq, Al-Qaeda and the War on Terror - FFI
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - FFI
Fallout likely caused 15,000 deaths - USA Today