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Friday, January 17, 2014

Did U.S. Soldiers Die in Vain?

 UPDATE I now have a full piece at The Nation.

Earlier: As killings surge in "pacified" Iraq and our war in Afghanistan appears more lost than ever, the question was rising anyway:  Were American lives lost in those two war "in vain"?  Now more than ever this debate has been sparked by the new (surprise)  hit movie Lone Survivor and comments by survivor of ill-fated Afghanistan mission, Marcus Luttrell.  He got into a bit of a tiff on TV the other day after CNN's Jake Tapper (a big supporter of vets groups and author of a book on another mission) gently suggested it was at least worthy to wonder about that lives-lost-in-vain question.

Now via Tom Ricks' site at Foreign Policy a former intelligence officer Jim Gourley has raised provocative questions--under the heading, "Yes, Marcus.  They Did Die in Vain"-- that are sure to spark more discussion (and probably anger in some quarters).  You have to register to read it, so I'll link here to a lengthy summary and excerpts at AmericaBlog. 
Over the last decade, our top leaders have wasted the lives of our sons, daughters, and comrades with their incompetence and hubris. After each failure, our citizens have failed to hold them accountable, instead underwriting new failed strategies as quickly as their predecessors with our apathy and sense of detachment. And then we use the tired paeans of “never forget” and “honor the fallen” to distract ourselves from our guilt in the affair. When we blithely declare that they did not die in vain, we deface their honor by using it to wipe the blood from our hands.

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