How can one evaluate whether any endeavor is worth it without weighing the cost? In his March 20 column “On balance, the Iraq war was worth it,” Jeff Jacoby fails to honor our armed forces when he neglects to mention the 4,488 American lives lost in Iraq as well as the thousands of Americans injured and the financial cost of more than $1 trillion. Similarly, how about the more than 110,000 Iraqi lives lost and the many thousands of Iraqis who were injured?
Further, one does not measure whether a war was worth it by listing the people who were in favor of it before it took place. By that standard, the 2011 Red Sox season was a smashing success because most experts were convinced the team would win the World Series before the first pitch was thrown on Opening Day. Instead, one should look at the alleged reasons for the war — (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction and (phony) links to Al Qaeda and 9/11 — and weigh those against the actual cost.
It is ironic that in the same edition as Jacoby’s column there was a front-page photo depicting yet another lethal car bomb in Iraq. Jacoby blames Obama’s withdrawal of troops a year and a half ago as being responsible for the continuing violence in Iraq. If the topic were not so serious, one could find humorous the assertion that 18,000 troops hunkered down in their bases would have stopped Sunnis and Shiites from fighting with each other. Moreover, we were forced to withdraw our forces in 2011 at the insistence of the Iraqis, pursuant to a written agreement between Presidents Bush and Maliki.