Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bush/Cheney Betrayal - Falluja’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There

I have a son-in-law who did two deployments to Iraq and one deployment to Afghanistan (where he was severely wounded) and in this area of military installations I know many members of the military who served in Iraq.  Many are stunned to see what they and friends fought for (and that many died for) so quickly unraveling and being for naught.  I suspect that many feel betrayed.  And they were.  By George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and by every member of Congress who voted to invade Iraq.  It was a fool's errand from the start premised on deliberate lies by Bush/Cheney and their sycophants.  Anyone familiar with the history of the region and the religious disputes between the two branches of Islam could have predicted disaster.  As I have said before, "supporting the troops" entails more that voting for defense spending and being rah, rah for the military.  It means not sending the into harms way on a fools errand.  The New York Times looks at the reactions of some who served in Iraq:

Adam Banotai was a 21-year-old sergeant and squad leader in the Marine Corps during the 2004 invasion of Falluja, a restive insurgent-held city in Iraq. His unit — which had seven of 17 men wounded by shrapnel or bullets in the first days of the invasion — seized control of the government center early in the campaign.

So when Sunni insurgents, some with allegiances to Al Qaeda, retook the city this month and raised their black insurgent flag over buildings where he and his men fought, he was transfixed, disbelieving and appalled.

“I texted a couple of friends,” said Mr. Banotai, now a firefighter and registered nurse in Pennsylvania. “Everyone was in disbelief.”

“I don’t think anyone had the grand illusion that Falluja or Ramadi was going to turn into Disneyland, but none of us thought it was going to fall back to a jihadist insurgency,” he said. “It made me sick to my stomach to have that thrown in our face, everything we fought for so blatantly taken away.”

The bloody mission to wrest Falluja from insurgents in November 2004 meant more to the Marines than almost any other battle in the 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many consider it the corps’ biggest and most iconic fight since Vietnam, with nearly 100 Marines and soldiers killed in action and hundreds more wounded.

Some now blame President Obama for not pushing harder to keep some troops in Iraq to maintain the stability. Others express anger at George W. Bush for getting them into a war that they now view as dubious in purpose and even more doubtful in its accomplishments. But either way, the fall of the city to insurgents has set off within the tight-knit community of active and former Marines a wrenching reassessment of a battle that in many ways defined their role in the war.

“This has been a gut punch to the morale of the Marine Corps and painful for a lot of families who are saying, ‘I thought my son died for a reason.’ ”

Ryan Sparks was a platoon commander during a seven-month Falluja deployment in which three men were killed and 57 wounded in his 90-man unit. Now about to take a job in Manhattan after recently leaving the Marines, Mr. Sparks, 39, said many of the younger Falluja veterans are angry “because we lost so many Marines, and it feels like they were sacrificed for nothing.”

He said that the fall of Falluja might finally bring home to the public what he says he and many comrades had long believed about the war. “Lives were wasted, and now everyone back home sees that,” he said. “It was irresponsible to send us over there with no plan, and now to just give it all away.”
Thousands died because of George Bush's hubris and Dick Cheney's megalomania.  Bush and Cheney need to be tried for war crimes and punished severely.  Unless this happens, this kind of fiasco will happen again.  My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones or who were maimed basically for nothing.  When members of the military hear Republicans giving lip service to "supporting the troops," they need to remember this huge betrayal.

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