A Marine veteran of Iraq shares his views of the current situation

As the ISIS moves closer and closer to Baghdad, Iraq descends faster and faster toward all-out civil war.

There have been lots of opinions (or takes) on the situation. From some wanting America to being airstrikes against the ISIS to others wanting us to stay out of it, the rhetoric has been hot and wide-ranging.

I wanted to share parts of a Marine’s perspective on it. (Keep in mind, this Marine served two tours in Iraq…)

“I’ve had my share of anger and disillusionment over the events that have unfolded in Iraq this week. There’s so much to be said about it that I don’t really even know how to express it. I never went to Afghanistan, but between my two deployments, I spent a year of my life in Iraq. Like many Marines and Soldiers that found themselves in that tumultuous little country over the last decade, a small piece of me will forever remain there.”

“I’ve seen a lot of Iraq veterans express remorse over their lost brethren in the country, given the current state of affairs. Many of them feel like it was all for naught at this point.”

“It was the bad war. It was the war that no one wants to take credit for. It’s the war everyone tries to forget.

“Yet myself and thousands of others were there, and we can’t forget.

“I feel disappointment on many levels in these recent events. On one hand, I want to blame ourselves for pulling out too early. On the other, the country of Iraq has simply been mismanaged. It also disturbs me that the Iraqi army and security forces are simply laying down their arms, tossing their uniforms and giving up. It’s a troubling situation all around. Still, at the end of the day and politics aside, it is really the people that are suffering. The ISIS forces have been brutal, and up to 500,000 Iraqis have been displaced from their homes in Mosul alone.”

“… the President just announced that we will not be putting any boots on the ground. More than likely for the best.”

You can read his full thoughts on the matter at: Terminal Lance “Operation Iraqi Shitstorm.”

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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 If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after finding himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

6 Comments

Filed under Marine Corps, National security

6 responses to “A Marine veteran of Iraq shares his views of the current situation

  1. Jim Stelling

    Hmm, I’m sure there are many Korean and Vietnam vets who feel the same way.
    If there is good enough reason to go to war, there should be good enough reason to win it.
    We have forgotten (since WWII) that to win a war, means to stay in whatever country we’re fighting until we are certain that they have changed their ways and mannerisms to become a democratic or republic nation.
    During a war, many civilians are going to be killed and we no longer belive that civilians should die. So what happens? We (our government and military) say enough is enough and pull out and let them kill each other. It’s been happening since the 1940’s.
    We have stayed in Korea as a minor back-up force in case of problems with North Korea. We have stayed in Germany and Japan because of promisses to protect against communism. We cannot go to war with Russia or China for fear of nuclear war and it wouldn’t surprise me if our current president would surrender if one of them dropped the first bomb.The European countries (and we’re following close behind) have become so politically correct that they’re afraid of upsetting any Muslim way of life.
    Since the draft was ended and with the military cutbacks, we no longer have the man power to fight a large war or a sustained war. We have become ripe for the picking. Most of our generals are so involved with politics that they wont stand up to a congressman and the enlisted are afraid to say something like Luke the Gook even though his Luke the Gook would have been, until recently, common references to the enemy.
    I remember a Red Skelton show (near the end of WWII) with Ozzie and Harriet. Red was playing the part of a gardener and explaining that this was the time of year to bury some kinds of seeds. Harriet asked what the Japs would be burying this time of year. Ozzie repiled: each other.
    I have heard that the air force base, nearby, has even told the folks there that they should not refer to a combat area as Indian Country.
    If the crrent folks were in charge–we would never have raised the American Flag on Iwo Jima.

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  2. I almost got my ass beat by my Vietnam vet neighbor when I insisted that losing in Vietnam means we weren’t able to impose our will. To him we lost Vietnam because of the politicians, and that the troops on the ground won it. We’ve since made-up, and agreed that we just have different takes on the word win when speaking about wars.

    Simply put when it comes to the Iraq invasion there wasn’t a good enough reason for going to war (Agent Curveball), hence the difficulty of defining what winning that war looks like–American democracy in Mesopotamia? Shi’a, Sunnis & Kurds working together? an anti-Iran Iraq? Oil from northern Iraq piped out without hassle?

    The question: Is the juice worth the squeeze? Post-WWII, it behooved us to stay in Germany & in Japan, because of Russia & China. Aside from terrorism and oil in N. Iraq, there really is no good reason to stay in that region. You can even argue that we have worst terrorists now compared to the 1990s Taliban (who banned heroin) or 9/11 AlQaeda (who followed Muslim chivalry codes to a t). Oil we’re exporting ourselves these days.

    So if we heed Gen. Smedley Butler’s warnings and advice from “War is a Racket”, we should only go to war for actual defense and ensure those most willing to go to war be conscripted first. Ron Paul’s stance on foreign interventions are a copy and paste from Gen. Butler’s. Pres. Obama’s big concept here is to NOT get into any more costly wars (juice has to be worth the squeeze).

    I believe thus far we are flying drones to aid Turkey, the Kurds and Maliki’s gov’t in the fight against ISIS (takfiris/salafis) and JRTN (sufi/Baathists, mostly run by Saddam’s former officers). The Marines have actually brought JRTN and desert clans to the table before, and convinced that to fight takfiri/salafis. The Sunni Awakening was the Marines biggest contribution to that war.

    Any rebuilding of Iraq should involve the Baathists, but recent developments in Maliki’s gov’t created an impossible situation worst. Fast forward to today and Maliki’s calling on Iran for direct intervention, while the Kurds ironically are being aided by Turkish air force. JTRN will eventually cut off ISIS if they want to be taken seriously, and when this musical chairs game is done, they’ll look to Jordan and Saudi Arabia (and Qatar too no doubt).

    And the three, Shi’a, Sunni and Kurds will have to divvie-up Iraq once again into three portions. We should side with the Kurds, but during this three-way Thunderdome it’s best to follow Gen. Smedley Butler’s advice–we have a robust enough intelligence apparatus that we should take the luxury of only partaking in small wars we can deny and criminal/terrorists interdictions. Take this much needed time to prepare for China (and Russia) via economics and talent wars from which to innovate.

    These days, Gen. Smedley Butler’s advice is more relevant. With all the emotional baggage that comes with losing hard fought ground being squandering by the underserving, we need to take a step back and see the forest for the trees, that a three-way civil war is that region’s inheritance, Saddam bought some time, so did we, but this has to happen.

    Remember (for fans of Disney’s Up), ISIS is the squirrel.

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  3. Great comments, guys!!! I love having folks I can talk through these complicated national security issues with.

    All of your comments have challenged my views and helped strengthen and mold them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. History will ultimately determine whether the invasion of Iraq was worth the cost to the U.S. That might take awhile; historians still debate the causes of the War of 1812. But if you examine the wars America has fought in the past 75 years, and what the outcomes of those conflicts were, certain things become clear. We won WW2 because the enemy was crushed, utterly and completely, and we did not pick up and leave after his defeat. We maintained a strong presence in Germany and Japan, helped them rebuild and guided them into building true democracies, and remember that democracy was a foreign concept in both nations at the time. We still have troops there, maintaining the peace and helping to defend them against very real foreign threats. As recent events in Ukraine and the China Sea have shown, our work is not yet done in those theaters. We got a draw in Korea because, while we did not utterly defeat the enemy, at least we prevented him from conquering our ally, the ROK. We had the enemy on the verge of defeat but our political leadership determined that to press on to total victory might not be worth the cost. But, we maintain a strong force in the ROK to prevent further aggression. That policy has worked for over 60 years. Vietnam was a net loss because we did not prevent the conquest of our ally, South Vietnam, which was the whole purpose of our being there in the first place. We pushed the enemy to the brink of defeat but instead of finishing him off, we allowed him to cut a deal at the bargaining table, a deal upon which he ultimately reneged, to nobody’s surprise. And when he reneged, what did we do? Nothing, and our ally fell. Now we have Iraq and also soon will face a similar situation in Afghanistan. Whatever the reasons for going into Iraq, we were there and after some early serious missteps in strategy, we cleaned up the situation and achieved what could have been construed a victory, had we not walked away as we did from Vietnam nearly 40 years earlier. This will be repeated in Afghanistan, because our political leadership does not have the stones to do what needs to be done. If you’re going to get into a war, fight to win, because if you don’t you will eventually lose.

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    • That’s some really great perspective, David! And I think we’re starting to get our arms around the fact that some of these countries are far more tribal and family-connected than we ever assumed. (Not to mention the Shia-Sunni thing.)

      We’re learning, albeit slowly and painfully…

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