Would you sacrifice your firstborn son to establish a democracy in country that had a dictatorship? How about giving up your son to effect a regime change? What about exchanging your son to end the oppression of minorities? How about trading your son in return for a country holding elections?
I don’t know of any American mother or father that would do such a thing. I wouldn’t give a finger from one of my sons to do any of these things. Some Americans, however, wouldn’t mind it if some other American’s son came back from some foreign war in a box with only a finger that was recognizable – just as long as it wasn’t their son.
Now that the war in Iraq is officially over, I keep hearing from apologists for the war about how it was worth it. I keep hearing that because Saddam Hussein is gone, Iraq has a Constitution, Iraqis have freedom, and Iraq holds elections that all the death and destruction was worth it. "We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people," President Obama told the troops at Fort Bragg. "I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Of course, none of Panetta’s three sons died in Iraq.
Okay, suppose it’s all true – and then some. Suppose it’s even better than anyone could have imagined. What if Iraq is now a model democracy for the rest of the world? What if Iraq now has a constitution that rivals our own? What if there is now no more sectarian violence in Iraq? What if Iraq now has a free market? What if Iraq is now an American ally? What if Iraq is now a friend of Israel? What if Iraqis now have freedom of speech and freedom of religion? What if Iraq now respects the rights of women and minorities? What if all Iraqi children are now in school? What if Baghdad is really the best city on earth instead of the worst?