As we mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, the most troubling fact, in a long and tragic list of troubling facts, is that we already know there will be a sixth anniversary. Worse yet, depending upon the outcome of the November election, there could be a seventh, tenth, twentieth, and twenty-fifth anniversary.
Five years later, America mourns the loss of almost 4,000 soldiers, grieves over the physical wounds afflicting more than 29,000 soldiers, grapples with the need to treat the invisible injuries that will strike tens of thousands of soldiers in the form of PTSD and TBI, and laments the devastating loss of life and injuries to hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
This administration didn't merely spend the bank on this needless war; it broke the bank, and the back of the US economy is sagging under the weight of an ill-conceived war plan that will indenture the American people for generations to come.
Five years later, the American people know that shock and awe was a diversionary tactic by an administration with no proof and no patience in its desire to settle an old score and subjugate Iraqi oil wealth. Today, shock and anger is what the American people feel about this war and the administration that misled us into it, as I predicted it would.
As millions of dollars in Iraq war spending turned into billions and, by all accounts, will reach a trillion dollars, I cannot help but think of how much America has sacrificed needlessly. Today, the American people overwhelmingly say the Iraq war was not worth fighting, and they would have said that five years ago had they been told the truth. Instead, the administration used fear to buy a war and false hopes to keep Americans fighting and dying in Iraq. And the real price being paid by the American people is far beyond what the administration wants you to know.
The money being wasted in Iraq is not available to provide the American people with universal health care coverage, or meet the urgent social safety net needs of our nation. The money being borrowed to fund this endless war is producing a towering mountain of debt. And most of all, this endless war is producing endless suffering in families across America and throughout Iraq. For every American casualty in Iraq, there are casualties to American families and communities. For all the pain we feel over the loss of a loved one, there is an enduring pain over what might have been, had they enjoyed the fullness of life in the country they so dearly loved.
On this 5th anniversary of a flawed and fatal war, let us resolve to make the November election the time when the American people issue new orders at the ballot box to end this war.