In 2005, while Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol were sitting at desks in Washington, my unit was fighting their war in Iraq. They were playing armchair general. We were kicking in doors, getting shot at and driving on IED-planted roads in unarmored vehicles designed for amphibious assaults.
The legacy of President Obama is that he got us out of wars. Let's keep it that way. The perceived weakness of Barack Obama is largely a reflection that the American body politic is adjusting to the fact that it no longer wants to be the world's gendarmerie, involved in and trying to settle every conflict.
"Memorial Day, to me, is a celebration of lives that were well-lived and people who gave that last full measure of devotion in service of a cause greater than themselves." Memorial Day is a holiday of remembrance for Americans. They remember those who have died in wars, many of whom were young people of our generation who, like Jake, believed passionately in the idea of service. I believe it is the duty of all young people to think about what our generation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have meant for those countries and ours. When we fail to continue to pay attention to Iraq and Afghanistan, we fail to honor the sacrifices made by the soldiers of our generation.
This week, President Obama met with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki over reports of treatment delays. "If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful and I will not tolerate it," said Obama after the meeting. We should absolutely hold accountable those responsible for the recent suffering and deaths of America's veterans. But let's not stop with the VA. One reason the system is so overwhelmed is because of the tens of thousands injured in Iraq, an unnecessary war, which also claimed over 4,400 soldiers' lives. In 2003, Shinseki, then serving as Army chief of staff, testified it would take "several hundred thousand soldiers" to occupy Iraq. For speaking the truth about the recklessness and hubris behind the invasion, he was pushed aside by Bush, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. So yes, there should be a price to pay for the unnecessary deaths of U.S. veterans -- but when will there be a price to pay for all those who were killed or are still suffering because of an unnecessary and immoral war?