For 18 years and counting, our troops have been fighting and sacrificing in Iraq.
The conflict has cost America dearly – more than 4,500 American troops killed, and more than $2 trillion taxpayer dollars spent – and has not made us safer.
Let’s bring our troops home and shape a better American foreign policy.
The war in Iraq has been a strategic blunder from the beginning—one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history. Based on the false belief that the Iraqi government had large stocks of weapons of mass destruction and that regime change in Iraq would lead to more stability in the Middle East, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
Pursuing regime change in 2003 was disastrous. The war and U.S. occupation unleashed sectarian violence and Islamic radicalism, strengthened neighboring Iran, and cost the United States thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.
Even after destroying ISIS’s territorial caliphate, the U.S. has left troops in Iraq, repeating the same mistake as in Afghanistan – keeping boots on the ground that don’t need to be there.
Deploying troops to Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East to fight regional wars is not necessary to keep America safe. However, such deployments actually embolden our enemies and offer much easier opportunities to harm American service members.
Our troops in Iraq have no clearly achievable objectives, yet they are continually put in harm’s way. For those deployed:
We are continuing to put our troops’ lives on the line for efforts that are not necessary to keep us safe.
Americans here at home continue to suffer and sacrifice thanks to our prolonged entanglement in Iraq:
That cost is not worth it.
The interests we do have in the Middle East – preventing disruptions to global energy supplies and combating terrorists with intent and capability to harm America – can be dealt a large-scale, permanent military presence.
We can best honor the sacrifices of Iraq War veterans and those who lost their lives by making realistic and prudent choices about the U.S. role in the Middle East.
Use of images of persons in uniform does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.