The Forgotten War
The civil war in Korea from 1950 to 1953 that the United States foolishly intervened in, and, for the first time for a major conflict, without a congressional declaration of war, is known as the Forgotten War. The number of American soldiers killed in this senseless war is over 36,000. Yet, Korea remains divided at the 38th parallel to this day just like it was before the war began. Talk about dying in vain. None of these soldiers died in defense of the United States; all of them died for the United Nations, for the foolish policies of Harry Truman, and for the failed diplomacy of World War II.
Most Americans have no idea that there are still over 24,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea (some no doubt the grandchildren of the soldiers who fought in the Korean War). Fewer still probably know anything about the war that put them there in the first place.
There is another war that, incredibly, is fast becoming a forgotten war: the war in Iraq. I lamented last year at this time that we didn't hear much about the war in Iraq anymore. Even though candidate Barack Obama pledged in 2007 that the first thing he would do if elected was bring the troops home and end the war, the war wasn't an issue in the 2008 election. And before the electoral vote was even counted, Democratic opposition to the war had evaporated.
Now, on the seventh anniversary of the unconstitutional, immoral, aggressive, unjust, unnecessary, manufactured, manipulated, and senseless war that is the war in Iraq, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan has eclipsed any mention of the ongoing war in Iraq. And this in spite of the fact that there are still 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
When I wrote about the Iraq war on its third anniversary, 2,317 American soldiers had died for a lie. On the fourth anniversary, that number had risen to 3,218. On the fifth, it was up to 3,992. Last year, on the sixth anniversary of the war, the number of dead American soldiers rose to 4,259. Currently, the death toll is at 4,385, with 157 of those deaths since Obama became the new commander in chief.
But, it is said, look how the number of deaths per year has fallen. Agreed. But that is no consolation to the father, mother, wife, or child of the soldiers who died in vain and for a lie yesterday, last week, or last month.
Although combat deaths are decreasing in Iraq (but certainly not in Afghanistan), increasing among returning soldiers are suicides, PTSD, broken families, substance abuse, unemployment, horrible memories, lingering injuries, shattered dreams, acts of violence, and criminal activity. And of course, the war is still costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars a week.
But even if only one American soldier had died since last month, even if only one American soldier had died since the last anniversary of the war, even if only one American soldier had died since Obama took office, and even if only one American had died since the beginning of the war, that would still be one too many.
Only the grossly naïve still think that those fighting and dying in Iraq are doing so for our freedoms or to keep us safe from terrorism. The truth is rather that since the war on terrorism began our freedoms have steadily deteriorated and we have created more terrorists.
Before the United States invaded Iraq, not one American had been killed by an Iraqi since the previous time we invaded that country. But no U.S. soldier had to die in either war against Iraq. Bringing "democracy" to Iraq, ridding the country of Saddam Hussein, and destroying Iraq's weapons of war were not worth the life of one American. They were not worth the shedding of one drop of American blood.
But that's not all. No Iraqi soldiers had to die, no Iraqi civilians had to die, and no Iraqi children had to die between the wars because of brutal U.S. sanctions.
Yet, Americans who have lamented the senseless deaths of American soldiers, not to mention the deaths of countless numbers of Iraqis, and denounced this war from the beginning are the ones who have been labeled unpatriotic, un-American, communists, and traitors. This callous disregard for human life — American and Iraqi — is appalling, and especially among those who call themselves pro-lifers.
If you love what is left of our republic and want America to be loved instead of hated, blessed instead of cursed, admired instead of despised, and emulated instead of attacked, then you should want the United States to get out of Iraq and the Middle East — and stay out. Oh, it might take years, even decades, to restore America to favor in the eyes of world, but we must start sometime if it ever has a chance of coming to pass.
Do I think U.S. troops will ever leave Iraq? I can answer that with a question: Does the United States still have troops in South Korea?
March 20, 2010
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn't. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.
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