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Comments about ‘My view: U.S. better off because of Iraq War?’

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Published: Thursday, April 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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cjb
Bountiful, UT

Are we better off? Absolutely, it cost us only a couple of trillion dollars, a few lives and bodies and emotions that have been damaged for the rest of the persons life, ... but look at all the benefits we have gotten in return.

ECR
Burke, VA

Thank you, Judge Jenkins, for clearly stating the facts about the cost to our country of the Iraq War. But I'm afraid you only scratched the surface of the true cost. You clearly stated the real costs and you provided an excellent comparitive example of what we could have paid for with the money spent on the war.

But in addition to those costs, I am thinking about the damage done to the soul of our nation - our national psyche. Their is more division among our people than at any other time in my life and those divisions get deeper with each passing year. Patriotism is now measured in how many flag lapel pins I own or how many yellow ribbons I paste on my bumper rather than on my commitment to living a respectable and responsible life as a citizen of this nation. We see that dvision more clearly in daily news from Washington but it exists on Main Street of every town in America. The unity we felt in the days following the 9/11 attacks, and all the possibilities for good, was squandered by this senseless, selfish decision that has turned into a decade long nightmare.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Thank you, Deseret News, for printing Judge Jenkins' thoughtful, reality-based and compelling essay.

Please, let's see more like it.

Doug10
Roosevelt, UT

Our country is much worse off each time we try to rationalize that war. There were and continue to be as bad or worse dictators alive and well in African countries yet our turns a blind eye there.

When Colin Powell was approached to back Mitt during last years election his response was, war is terrible and Mr Romney has the same group of advisors that gave Pres Bush some tragic advice and I fear our country would yet again go to war and for that reason I cannot vote for Mitt.

In our local high school the teachers are maintaining that there were nuclear weapons found in Iraq. I can only imagine they teach that because they think by doing so they maintain the integrity in their political party of choice.

In the middle east USA is badly thought of, maybe because we went after Saddam and finally got him but decimated the infrastructure, killed 60,000 soldiers and we were also there and witnessed the killing of 30,000+ citizens who might be alive had we not shown up...got to love us for that.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Amen Judge Jenkins.

It should also be noted that over 2 million Iraqis refugees fled Iraq during the war and have not returned. Some who fled to Syria have returned as a result of the war there. The refugees included many who were educated.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

The loss of our ideals was the real cost of the Iraq War. We attacked a small nation that never attacked us so we could get control of their oil. It's that simple. It was naked venality. Never again can I talk with a straight face about the ideals of America.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

My theory for the real reason we went into Iraq is that the Bush Administration saw an opportunity to exploit post-911 public sentiment as a mandate for a more ambitious and sweeping policy to reshape the political landscape of the Middle East. Start cleaning house by deposing a villain whom the whole world saw as a problem. Only time will tell if it was worth the cost.

Kim
Cedar Park, Texas

Although I agree with the author that the costs of the war in Iraq far outweigh the benefits at this time, I don't believe that enough time has passed to reach an absolute conclusion. If it eventually plays out that the war provided some stability in the region and allowed us to avoid a larger conflict, then it may have been worth it.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

No. No way.

DougB
Spanish Fork, UT

I applaud Judge Jenkins for his pragmatic truths about many of the uncounted costs of our conquest of Iraq here at home, but in his attempt to be perhaps too charitable to former Senator Bennett's vapid opinion piece on the issue he kindly concludes that Iraq, at least, might be better off when nearly every indicator actually suggests otherwise. The travesties of our optional and misguided war adventurism in Iraq are many and pretending like either country is better off now will benefit nobody and could warp our view when similar choices present themselves in the future.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Kim
" If it eventually plays out that the war provided some stability in the region and allowed us to avoid a larger conflict"

Considering Saddam was the check on Iran (he was Sunni despite Iraq being majority Shi'ite, Iran is majority Shi'ite) and that roughly half of Iraqis don't have access to electricity and water for more than a couple hours a day (3x as many as before the war) they're a long way from stability internally and regionally.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Thank you, Judge Jenkins, for your voice of sanity and reason. Excellent op-ed piece.

Obama10
SYRACUSE, UT

"U.S better off because of Iraq war?" No! I supported Pres. Bush originally on this subject and support him on many others, but unfortunately, this was a mistake. But lets be clear, Senator Hillary Clinton, Current Secretary of State John Kerry, and many other Democrats also stated that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and supported him at the time, so this was not just Bush's fault. The US at one time supported Saddam Hussein and thought of him as an ally, in controlling Iran. We helped Iraq in the Iraq/Iran war of the 80's.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It sure is comforting to know we have a Federal judge who is completely comfortable with revisionist history and could write an opinion like this with no mention whatsoever of 9/11 and the mood and psyche of the electorate after that attack.
A couple of points: the invasion of Iraq was supported by a majority of Democrats and Republicans. There was not only a consensus among Democrats that Saddam had WMD's but also among the international intelligence community. So can we please drop the "Bush lied, people died" outright revisionist falsehood at this point?
Is America better off without Saddam in power? I say yes. And unless you have a crystal ball and can tell us exactly how events would have unfolded had Saddam remained in power then you're basically trying to prove a negative.
Trillions of dollars that could have been spent on Social Security and bridges? Has the judge forgotten about the Democrat's stimulus bill? How many bridges did we get from that trillion dollars? Zero point zero.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Only R's would defend this war at this point. The cost of lives and treasure to take out Hussein who was militarily and economically isolated and impotent was too much. It was a Bush/Cheney ego trip, nothing more. Many D's jumped on this bandwagon for political self preservation as well as as an emotional response to the events of September 11. Clear thinking didn't exist on this subject until the US was sucked in. Many scoffed at John McLaughlin on his show that the US would be there for 50 years, he will be sadly right I surmise.

Finally, I really don't care if Iraq is better, that's not the job of our leaders. I care whether America is better. Call me a Machiavellian or whatever, but any foreign policy should be judged on this period. Of course, I doubt W. and Co. really cared too much about the Iraqis but this has been used to "justify" the war, bringing democracy to Iraq. Again, I could care less. The war hasn't helped our position in that region and contributed mightily to our debt problem of today, two things that have weakened the US greatly.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Thanks, judge, for asking the right question and giving the right answer. I think a very strong case can also be made that Iraq and the world are worse off because of the war, but that's an article for another day.

By the way, when the war began, numerous cars in Utah sported bumper stickers saying "Support Our Troops" They were everywhere. As the war dragged on, however, and as the war grew less popular, the stickers seemed to disappear. Today, although we still have troops in Afghanistan, you almost never see "Support Our Troops" on cars. Could it be that these Utahns never really supported our troops, they merely supported the Iraq War, and when the war grew unpopular, off came the bumper stickers. (I understand that the edge of a metallic flag lapel pin can be used to scrape off a bumper sticker.)

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

We’ll never know what would have been the consequences in the region if Saddam Hussein were still in power today. Bush made the mistake of putting all of his eggs in one basket by resting his case for war solely on Iraq’s hypothetical WMDs. Saddam’s record of genocide and human rights atrocities alone were more than sufficient justification for going in.

Corrupt governments in the Middle East were a root cause for militant Islam. Wolfowitz had long known that and it factored in on the decision. But that might be too complex to be explained to the public in a way that everyone could understand. The safe bet was to dumb down the message for Joe Six-pack and based on intelligence that seemed reliable, WMDs seemed like a can’t miss proposition. And so the Bush Administration didn’t even try to tell the public its real reason for going into Iraq.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Notwithstanding my comments above, we should ALWAYS support our troops. They are doing their duty. The fault of this war lies with President Bush. Congress supported a resolution but there was no official declaration of war. He might have been influenced by wrong intelligence and hawks like Cheney, but ultimately as Truman said well, "the buck stops here." He ultimately pulled the trigger (sorry about the pun) on this one.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Thank you, Judge Jenkins. Great op-ed letter.

I'm even more surprised that the Deseret News actually printed it!

I think it should be re-printed every year, just as a reminder.

nonceleb
Salt Lake City, UT

Two other issues should be addressed. Iraq is better off with Sadaam gone, but a strong, militant Iraq acted as a factor neutralizing Iran. Iran is now the dominant power in the region and has been emboldened to focus on a nuclear program and help other allies in the region, such as Syria. Also, it was claimed in the beginning that oil production from a democratic Iraq would help repay some of our rebuilding costs there. That has not happened.

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