Dan Caldwell served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq more than a decade ago. Today, as a senior adviser to Concerned Veterans for America and the foreign policy campaign manager for Stand Together, he is helping lead the fight to end the 18-year-long U.S. involvement in Iraq.
“I remain proud of my service in Iraq and am thankful that most of our service members served honorably, despite fighting a war that was doomed from the start,” Caldwell writes in a new opinion piece in The American Conservative. “However, I do not want there to be more Iraq war veterans and especially do not want to see more Americans killed or wounded in support of unattainable objectives.”
After almost two decades, the Iraq War is no longer front of mind for many Americans. But Iraq remains a dangerous place. Earlier this month, a U.S. civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on the Al-Asad air base. In response, President Joe Biden launched airstrikes against targets in Syria.
But there is little appetite among the American public for continuing this pointless tit-for-tat that serves little no purpose except to endanger American lives for no compelling strategic reason. In a recent poll, more than two-thirds of those surveyed, including wide majorities of both veterans and military families, support leaving Iraq.
“The inability of now four presidents to accept these realities has meant that America remains enmeshed in a country with no clear connection to our safety or other vital national interests,” Caldwell writes.
The ostensible justification for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq is to equip and train Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIS. But ISIS’s territorial base has been destroyed and its remaining fighters pose no significant threat to vital American interests.
It’s time to bring U.S. troops home, before the children of those first deployed in 2003 are sent to follow in their parents’ footsteps.
Read Iraq War veteran Dan Caldwell’s opinion piece in The American Conservative.