Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

“It was 20 years ago today…”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 23, 2023

But Sergeant Pepper didn’t teach the band to play, nor did he have a Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Things Not Worth Fighting For
One Giant Fucking Mistake Based Upon A Lie,
And How It Gave Us A Black Eye At Home And Abroad

“All of our experiences were different. It was such a long war. Every year of the war or every phase of the war was very different. We learned that it wasn’t necessarily a just war. But then, we broke it, so then we had to fix it. Navigating wartime service in the Iraq War, especially if you served more than one tour, it’s more about just doing what you are called to do and making sure that you’ve got the men and women to your left and right all home from that war. Focusing more on that than the policy or the why of why we’re there. Because that can be a dark place.”

— Allison Jaslow, former Army Lieutenant, served 2 tours of duty in Iraq during the most violently intense period, now CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

“We all felt [that], maybe there was a way to make things better, [but we] then recognized that we hadn’t made things better… it didn’t turn out as we’d hoped. A lot of my fellow Americans don’t even rank it as important. They say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ That’s sincere and well-meant. But that’s as far as it goes. I’m happy to have a conversation with you. I think we’ll both come away better.”

— Scott Cooper, former Marine aviator who flew in the initial Iraq airstrikes which mission was to “end the war before it began,” by killing Saddam Hussein at his Dora Farms residence, served 5 tours in Iraq ending in 2008, is co-founder of the Veterans and Citizens Initiative

“I think it was a big mistake, and I do not dwell on it. One tries to not dwell on things. I came back as a more serious, more cold person, and I lost people in the past that were very dear to me because of who I became. Certain states that I would travel through and I would have to wear a U.S. Army shirt or wear a ‘veteran’ hat just to get some kind of respect. Because I’m a brown guy, I have to wear something that says that I’m an American patriot, and that’s not cool. That’s not a good feeling.”

— Alejandro Rodriguez, Army combat medic during the second Battle of Fallujah, 2004, is now settled in his native Puerto Rico, where he’s in the business of renovating and managing apartments

Emma Sky (second from left, in light trousers) accompanying Gen. Ray Odierno (center) on a visit to a local market in Khalis, Iraq, January24, 2009. Gen. Ray Odierno, Multi-National Force – Iraq commanding general, walks through a local market in Khalis, Iraq, with Soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, January 24, 2009.

“My students today weren’t born when we invaded Iraq, and for them, it’s ancient history. I think we live with the ghosts of the Iraq War. The Middle East, the changes in the balance of power, are in Iran’s favor. And the spread of terrorism, and the impact that the Iraq wars had on America and British societies. The U.S. did a lot to undermine the image of democracy, and its own democracy has also really taken a bashing.”

— Emma Skye, OBE, former British diplomat, Yale University lecturer, founding Director of Yale’s International Leadership Center, political advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq; development advisor to the Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan; political advisor to the US Security Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; Governorate Coordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority; volunteered to help rebuild the Iraqi state, served there from 2003-2010 and eventually became a key adviser to the American Commanding General in Iraq, Ray Odierno. She’s among a number of Iraq scholars who think the war weakened America abroad and at home.

“No significant weapons of mass destruction — the given reason for the war — would be found.”

“Veterans of the Iraq War… will … start to become leaders here at home, bear the lessons of a war they fought faithfully, and mostly now agree was not worth fighting.”

20 years later, Iraq War veterans reflect on a long war


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