Ten years ago, Iraqi and Coalition Forces were boots-deep in Operation Together Forward, a two-phase mission to reduce violence and increase security in a war-torn Iraq. Soon after, the Iraq Study Group concluded that the operation’s results were “disheartening,” to tread lightly.
In July, the Chilcot Report yielded another sobering analysis of meddling in the Middle East. This inquiry unpacked the UK’s involvement in Iraq. Though much of the report simply confirms what the public already suspected – that leaders knew Hussein did not have WMDs, and that there were peaceful alternatives to war – this report, once again, exposes misguided military interventions only after the fact.
The findings of the Chilcot Report and memory of a failed Operation Together Forward should reinvigorate our efforts to curb the sleazy rhetorical tactics used by political leaders to sweep us off our feet and whisk us off to conflict somewhere beyond the sea. In other words, brace yourself for Trump v. Hillary before the storm of September 26 hits.
Americans Must Claim Memorial Day as a Day to Promote Peace
Memorial Day often seems to bring about uneasy feelings among many Americans. People too often allow their anti-war views to manifest into disdain for U.S. troops. This shouldn’t be the case.
Memorial Day is an opportunity for Americans to honor the memory of American soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice — a reminder of the true costs of war.
Memorial Day began as a Union holiday to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War and was eventually merged with Confederate remembrances to their Civil War dead. The joining of the north and south’s Memorial Day celebrations into a national remembrance for the fallen of all American wars was a critical step toward post-Civil War reconciliation between the north and south.
Today, Memorial Day can serve the same purpose. Americans must join together to honor the brave people who gave their lives in service of their country. But we must also take the next step by making the moral case of honoring the fallen through peace, rather than more war.
There have been 6,882 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 15 years. This is more than a statistic. Every soldier who has died was a human being with parents, siblings, a spouse and possibly children. Every life lost through violent conflict prematurely cuts short the hopes and dreams these men and women, and their families, had for the future.
Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor the fallen, and to highlight the need to ensure that more Americans are not sent to perish in conflicts that do not advance our national interests.