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America’s great mistakes: Has everyone forgotten that the Vietnam and Iraq wars were unnecessary, stupid and destructive? - by David Masciotra

tt is always equally nauseating and amusing to see America, an individualistic country, get in touch with its inner Marx and transform into a nation of collectivists whenever discussion of war rises to the level of unavoidable noise pollution. “The pursuit of happiness” mutates into “give your life for your country” with little scrutiny of the nobility or necessity of the military misadventure at hand.

Ever since Donald Trump, in an act of stupidity and indecency now becoming characteristic, spoke ill of the Khan family, whose son died in the Army during the Iraq War, the entire country has communicated a pro-military mindset that papers over the truth regarding America’s foolish and lethal wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

It is basic courtesy and kindness to express sympathy for anyone who has to bury a child, and to demonstrate respect for anyone who suffers injury or dies in war, but in an understandable and natural urge to honor the grief of the Khans, the Democratic Party, major media figures and Republicans desperately trying to distance themselves from the traveling disaster of Donald Trump have dragged out the big, rancid words “service” and “sacrifice.” These words act as censors against honest evaluation of American foreign policy. Throughout the rush to give the Khan family the regard they deserve and that Trump could not offer, it is disturbing to see almost no acknowledgement of the reality that their son, along with 4,485 other Americans, died in a war that should have never taken place. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis also died, and many more sustained life-altering wounds and trauma, but Americans are never much for counting the casualties their country creates, rather than endures.

As much as Trump should apologize to the Khan family for his rude and thoughtless remarks, shouldn’t the architects and administrators of the war that killed Humayun Khan also apologize?

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the lack of any operative connection between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, and the creation of a terrorist playground in place of a once stable, albeit oppressive and miserable, country has led the overwhelming majority of Americans to view the war as a “mistake” and “not worth it.” The Iraq War, like the Vietnam War before it, was unnecessary, stupid and destructive. A rational observer who just awoke from a coma the week before the Democratic Convention would have little awareness of the blunder and crime of the Bush administration, given that for the past week, the entire country has spoken about the optional failure of policy as if it was World War II.

When the words “serve” and “sacrifice” populate political dialogue, it becomes crucial to ask, serve what and sacrifice for what?

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