No, this isn’t a rerun of an article written in 2003. Our government was so proud of its invasion in Iraq, it believes we should do it one more time; military advisers to the President believe the United States should send a ‘small number of combat troops’ into Iraq to assist in the fight against ISIS.
The Vietnam War began in 1954. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower financial aid and few military trainers and advisers were sent to the South. The first escalation began in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy sent two helicopter units to support the increase in conflict between the north and south. When the last combat and support troops left South Vietnam in 1975, 2,709,918 men and women had served. 58,202 were killed; 47,378 were killed in battle, 10,800 were from non-hostile action or those who died post-war from injuries suffered in battle.
As the terrorist group known as ISIS began to acquire much of northern Iraq, President Obama organized a coalition of forces including Muslim nations to use air power to assist the Iraqis. Then he decided to send 300 ground forces to protect American interests in the region, and train Iraqi forces. He recently doubled the number and added 100 more who had been waiting in a standby capacity.
This is all too familiar for those of us who can remember how quickly a ‘support’ group turned into a full-fledged war in the mid-sixties.
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Arms Services Committee that the United States may send combat troops to Iraq to ‘serve along with the Iraqi militia.’
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claims that they will not themselves be in combat missions.
Dempsey did not give a precise number of troops who may be sent. What he did reveal is that they would remain for ‘several years.’
Experience teaches us to doubt everything our government tells us. From ‘advisors’ to millions of combat troops happened during the Vietnam War in the ‘blink of an eye.’
The openly stated goal of ISIS has been to engage the United States in another Mideast war. It appears that they will succeed. When American forces begin to die on the battlefield, additional ‘support’ troops will arrive in Iraq. One of the promises made by presidential candidate Barrack Obama in 2008 was that he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It now appears that we will soon be waging another war in Iraq.
The American government has never met a war it didn’t like. The truth is that our nation has not won a war since WWII. Our government continues to sacrifice our finest young men and women in causes which do not directly affect our own people.
There is no reason to believe that the number of troops sent to Iraq will not escalate rapidly; there is history to prove the assumption.
This writer is a ‘baby-boomer.’ Old enough to remember the Korean conflict, and of an age to have served in Vietnam, I am tired of seeing our country involved in wars thousands of miles away from our shores. And I miss many of my friends.
I was fortunate enough to be medically unable to fight the North Vietnamese. Many of my friends returned with serious injuries, including loss of limbs. Some did not return on their feet.
In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent fighting ISIS. Our Congress insists that money does not exist to support social programs for the working class. Somehow they always find the money to wage a war.
By James Turnage