Rajiv Srinivasan: Iraq War Legacy -- Are Today’s Vets Better Off?

tags: veterans, anniversaries, Iraq War, legacy



On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, it’s time for some perspective on the path we have traveled. We went into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, then to avenge September 11, then to build a foothold of freedom in the Arab world, none of which seemed to materialize. Our military, though the strongest force on earth, was challenged in ways we never thought possible. The front lines disintegrated into an asymmetric war. We realized the shortcomings of “shock and awe” and began pursuing “hearts and minds” instead. But for all the comparisons to the generation at war in Vietnam, today’s veterans have a lot more going in their favor than we may appreciate.

The pendulum has swung far from the post-Vietnam era days when there was a clear inability on society’s part to separate the soldier from the cause. At Mai Lai, LT Calley served as the example upon which people based their judgments of soldiers. In Iraq, the soldiers involved in Abu Ghraib and Haditha were regarded as anomalies who were simply the bad apples who dishonored the good work the rest of the force was doing....



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