The pullout of the last U.S. combat brigade from Iraq must come as a huge relief to the moms and dads, sisters and brothers, spouses and friends of those in military service.
Look back on the Iraq war and see the toll on service men and women from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. There was Army Capt. Scott Seifert of Williams Township, who died in Kuwait a few days after the war began in March 2003 in a grenade attack by another American soldier.
Like my cousin Nicky Venditti, Seifert was an example of how there are all kinds of ways to die in a war that have nothing to do with the enemy. Nicky was mortally wounded his first week in Vietnam, in July 1969, by an Army instructor who unwittingly set off a grenade in a classroom. http://www.davidvenditta.com/
In Iraq, Army Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick of Jim Thorpe drowned when he tried to rescue another soldier whose vehicle had gone into a canal near Abu Ghraib Prison. Marine Cpl. Kyle J. Grimes of Bethlehem died when the CH-53E helicopter he was in crashed near Ar Rutbah. Roadside bombs got Parkland High School grad Matthew J. Koch, an Army specialist; Marine Pfc. Joshua P. Klinger of Williams; Army Pvt. Travis C. Zimmerman of New Berlinville; Army Spc. Luis O. Rodriguez-Contrera of Allentown, and Army Sgt. Ashly L. Moyer of Emmaus.
Army Capt. Mark T. Resh, a Northwestern Lehigh High School grad, died when his helicopter was shot down; he received the Silver Star for gallantry. Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Van Parys of New Tripoli was killed at Al Anbar.
They are among the two dozen people from the Lehigh Valley region http://www.legacy.com/mcall/soldier/home.aspx and more than 4,400 across the country who died in the seven years of the Iraq war, begun to rid the country of “weapons of mass destruction” we were falsely led to believe existed.
It’s not clear yet whether their sacrifice was worth it.
Now all eyes are on Afghanistan, where we’ve been fighting for nine years and President Barack Obama is sending tens of thousands more troops. American deaths so far have totaled more than 1,100, and July was the bloodiest month for U.S. troops, with 66 dead. According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war. http://surveys.ap.org/data%5CGfK%5CAP-GfK%20Poll%20August%20Topline%20Final%20081810%20IRX-AFX.pdf
Count me among them.
Just as in Vietnam, Washington is throwing away lives and treasure to prop up a corrupt, incompetent government. Our enemies in that lawless part of the world will operate regardless of whether we have troops there, and that’s not meant as a slight to our dedicated, highly trained armed forces.
It’s the reality that our involvement in Afghanistan is a waste, just as it was for the former Soviet Union. No good can come from it.