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they’ll be home for Christmas

December 16, 2011

The official end of the Iraq War was the polar opposite of the arrogantly named

“Shock and Awe” campaign that officially started it.  March 20, 2003, an aerial

bombardment lit up the Baghdad night.  Thursday the U.S. command rolled up

its flag for the last time and slipped a camouflage cloth over it in an attempt to

slip away into the day.


Protected by concrete blast walls, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta accepted

the covered colors and spoke briefly about the American success, rounding off

the actual number of 4487 combat deaths to “nearly 4500”.  He assured a small

crowd that those deaths weren’t in vain.  Iraq’s President and Prime Minister

didn’t bother to attend.


What did the U.S. get for its $800 billion investment?  A nation that lost at least

100,000 citizens in the war and still has frequent car bombings.  And tens of

thousands of troops returning here forever changed by their war experience.


Expect spiked rates of depression, divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, crime and

violence from these veterans as they are quietly forgotten by a public that

scarcely acknowledged the war, anyway.  Watch as movies and TV shows tri-

vialize their struggle by depicting them as deranged and dangerous.  Do you

remember how often Vietnam vets were shown as villains in the 60’s and 70’s?


There may be hope for this group, though.  Jude and I recently watched a

segment on “PBS NewsHour” about how the Army is not only admitting that

there is such a thing as PTSD, it’s realizing that it might be prudent to prepare

troops for it before they go into combat situations.  That’s revolutionary in

its own way.


At any rate, they’re coming home, folks.  Please greet them with the compassion

of the season.  Tell them you really care how they’re adjusting.  And please,

please don’t conflate the heartwarming homecomings so prevalent on the news

now with the nobility or necessity of war.  The Iraq War was an illegal invasion 

and occupation of a sovereign nation.  No amount of burnishment can polish

that turd.

  1. wade permalink
    December 16, 2011 12:17 pm


    Also, recall the young Iraq veteran who was attacked by the Oakland Police and has brain damage as a result of the tear-gas canister cracking his skull.

    • December 17, 2011 10:47 am

      Do let’s keep Scott Olsen in our thoughts.

  2. Charlotte Wales permalink
    December 16, 2011 12:36 pm

    Well said, Allen – well said. If you don’t mind, I’m going to publish it on my facebook page so that others may read it as well. Yet another shameful time in America’s “military” history.

    • December 17, 2011 10:48 am

      Thank you, Charlotte. I would be honoured if you put in our your facebook page.

  3. kris (lower case) permalink
    December 18, 2011 7:30 pm

    bush and cheney and the rest of those mad dogs (an insult to dogs for sure) should be tried for war crimes and put in jail for the rest of their mangy lives. now the talk from the great war party (teabagging republicans) is iran… these morons never learn a freaked thing.

    • December 19, 2011 9:22 am

      And the odd thing about it, kris, is that it was prominent Republican Ike Eisenhower who warned us about the military-industrial complex 60 years ago.

  4. beth reed permalink
    December 19, 2011 6:16 am

    I will show compassion to our soldiers and thank them for a service that can never be justified by those that started it with little regard to the victims of this war and now with little regard to the survivors.
    My son in law will become one of those displaced victims on Dec. 30th and I know he has a hard struggle ahead of him.

    • December 19, 2011 9:23 am

      Can you tell us more about your son in law’s situation?

  5. beth reed permalink
    December 19, 2011 5:07 pm

    My son in law was injured in afghastan. It is his back and it will never get better. He is 25 now and the dr.s say that he will be in a wheel chair by the time he is 35. Of course he is one of the lucky ones and is alive, but he is in constant pain and has said that he will not go thru the spinal injections or the electric shock again.
    He and my daughter have 2 children and he is getting out of the Marines the last day of this month. He did get a good disability rating but they are unsure of what to do next.

    • December 20, 2011 8:36 am

      Back injuries are the worst. A friend I served with on Okinawa has one, and the VA keeps jerking him around on his level of disability. I hope your son-in-law keeps his medical records in good order.

  6. beth reed permalink
    December 20, 2011 9:38 pm

    Good idea Allen, I will pass that suggestion on to him. I agree the back is terrible pain. I am sorry to hear that your friend is not getting what he needs because of all the crap. Let me do some checking, I met a man not to long ago out of Atlanta and that is what he does is help our veterans get what is rightfully theirs. I will see if I can get his name and number for you to pass on to your friend and anyone else that needs it.

    • December 21, 2011 10:24 am

      That’s very thoughtful of you, Beth. It was outside help (a Sonoma County agency) that helped me start my claim for disability by translating the bureacratic BS that makes it so hard to file a claim in the first place.

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