The Marine’s (a combat veteran from Iraq) answer was … “It was worth it.”
I wish I could reproduce his full Opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal, but it’s behind a pay wall if you want to read it in full, or alternatively purchase a copy of the paper or read it at a local library. In any case, here is the on line link:
Brian M. Welke: Was Iraq Worth It? It Was for Me – WSJ
Mr. Welke’s story resonates with me and is why I still have the picture of the young lady seen above as the background picture on my computer. I don’t remember if she is Iraqi or Afghani, but she is the reason I tell veterans and active duty Marines, soldiers, sailors and airman, whenever I get the chance, that they have the best job in the world. Why?
Because they have had the unique opportunity to bring liberty and opportunity, or at least the hope of same, to the lives of many because of their sacrifice and service on behalf of others.
I will try to bring some of Mr. Welke’s thoughts here, and then try to tie his experience to some of what I have written previously, but I would encourage you to read Welke’s account in full as from one who was there … in the arena.
“A sacrifice’s worth is not determined by outcomes.”
Speaking to the question of was it worth it …
”A far more painful question, asked of one’s self, is: What if I hadn’t tried?”
“It was in the sands of Ramadi that I learned most people want to be masters of their own fate.”
“How many nations in the course of human events have sacrificed so much to give an unfree people a shot at self-determination? … Did Caesar conquer Gaul and then say, “Now its your turn to govern yourself.” No other country in history has defeated its enemies only to hand over the reins of government to its native population.”
As I was reading Mr. Welke’s piece my mind immediately traveled to 1975 and the Navy Destroyer USS Kirk. I have highlighted this episode in my book I Didn’t Want to Worry You Mom … but a much fuller rendering of that great episode of American Exceptionalism is captured at:
I conclude by adding to Mr. Welke’s oh-so-true statement “No other country in history has defeated its enemies only to hand over the reins of government to its native population” … the nations of Western Europe, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan … and the southern states of the Confederacy following the Civil war.
Don Johnson – August 2014