In our opinion: U.S. can't afford to lose all it gained in Iraq, Afghanistan


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  • sergio Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    It is hard to hang on to something that doesn't belong to you. The people who write and subscribe to this article are the ones who should be over in Iraq.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 12, 2014 8:17 p.m.

    "U.S. can't afford to lose all it gained in Iraq".


    What the U.S. really can't afford is to fight all possible wars. All battles are not ours to fight. We gave Iraq a chance, now its up to them . If they succeed fantastic. If not this will be a lesson to them to try harder next time.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 10, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Yeah sure, let's just waste more lives, limbs and treasury in Iraq. Who wrote this editorial? Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld?

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Reference 2 Bits and Procurador fiscal

    "Israel does a pretty good job of financing itself." "They do not need our financial help."

    Looking on the AIPAC web site. "Despite ongoing budget woes, it is critical that the United States lives up to its commitments to Israel"

    My opinion is that if we are unable to adequately fund programs for American citizens like healthcare, education and welfare why are we in the business of borrowing money to give away to countries like Israel?

    If we cut this military aid to Israel or discontinued it, and they really needed it perhaps they would pay for it themselves. If that were the case may be they would be unable to build all these new homes for the settlers in the occupied lands?

    We have housing needs for our own citizens in the United States.

    I guess it is a matter of priorities for our elected officials.

    In regard to debt forgiveness. I do not see the Federal Government forgiving any of my tax debt each year.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Jan. 10, 2014 2:33 a.m.


    Yes if course Obama wanted to get out of there. Which politician wouldnt. A disastrous war that has only made Iraq worse.


    Right, so what would you do if a foreign government came to your house, bulldozed it and told you to find somewhere else to live? I am sure you would shake their hands and be on your way.
    Israel is extremely aggressive, gets the latest weaponry from the US (for free) and keeps expanding into Palestinian territory. Look at what the borders of Israel were in 1948 and then compare it to now.
    How about this, why does Israel not go back to the original agreement and stop destroying Palestinian homes.

    Also I see from your other comments that you want more fiscal responsibility from your government, why do you support the billions of dollars sent to Israel. Why do you not complain about the apaches and abram tanks that are sold to them but have the debt forgiven after one small payment?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 6:16 p.m.

    Beyond the military industrial complex and the illegal drug dealers, is there anyone in the U.S. that gained anything from the Iraq, Afghanistan military pretentions of fighting for freedom. Oops, I forgot about the Texas oil chiefs.

    Are we more free and safe today than we were 10 years ago? Is al Qaida’s strength and influence greater or less than 10 years ago? Are Americans more beloved than before? Is our economy better than before? Just where are these gains in the boast?

    How many times will we buy loyalty from corrupt leaders and expect the result to last after the money stops? How many times will we let businessmen take us to war?

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 6:10 p.m.

    What is your opinion?

    Did our political and opinion makers (News papers like the Deseret News) exercise due diligence before advocating that we preemptively attack Iraq?

    Did Iraq have anything to do with 9/11?

    Was there an attempt to link Iraq to 9/11?

    Was Al Qaida in Iraq in any significant numbers before the invasion?

    Did Iraq have an active nuclear weapons program as we were told before the invasion?

    Did Iraq have an active biological weapons program as we were told before the invasion?

    Did Iraq have an active chemical weapons program as we were told before the invasion?

    Were we told that the oil revenues from Iraq would pay for the invasion?

    Were we told that our troops would be met with "Flowers and Sweet Tea"

    Perhaps we should not have preemptively attacked Iraq? As Colin Powell once said "You break it you fix it"

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    Re: 2bits "The Left just seems to have a hard place in their heart for Israel. Why is that? ... Can you explain it for the rest of us? " Yes I can explain this antipathy.

    Israel was founded (1948?) largely for religious purposes - from the Jewish perspective, as their natural homeland; from the evangelical Christian point of view, to fulfill prophecy and prepare for the second coming of Christ. But in the meantime an existing population of Palestinians was dozed aside. We have antipathy to Israel because it is a religious construct which ignored another population. We on the left think the whole Israel thing from a religious point of view is a boatload of nonsense which is going to get us into unending difficulty, e.g. our invasion of Iraq which was done in large part to satisfy Israel!

    That said, most of us on the left understand that the existing state of Israel is just that, existent, with a population which has rights. We understand that the United States could not standby and watch Israel slaughtered. On the other hand we agree with Pat Buchanan "that U.S. foreign policy should be set in Washington, not Tel Aviv."

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    We couldn't afford to 'gain' it in the first place.

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    It really is too bad that the DNews is using this as a vehicle. I dislike our president's ineptitude as much as anyone but the fact is Fallujah is now back under control as the Iraqi military went in and regained the city, with the assistance of the local population, and have now handed it over to local police. Similar steps are being taken in Ramadi as we speak. Our president also has dispatched Apache helicopters to assist PM Maliki in Iraq's efforts to contain the sporadic uprisings.

    Our media is unduly amplifying the negative going on in Iraq to make it seem like it is falling apart, while failing to note the amazing progress that Iraq is making politically and economically.

    Al Qaida, and other radicalized groups like them, will continue to be a thorn in the side of the world for a long time. We haven't seen the last of them. The good news is that the world is starting to evolve as the information age progresses. This is happening in the ME as well. It will be slow but it is happening.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 2:12 p.m.

    Israel does a pretty good job of financing itself. They don't need our financial help. They are very productive and prosperous (unlike some of their neighbors).

    Israel doesn't need financial assistance. They need military assistance. We send more $$$ to Muslim countries than we do Israel.


    The Left just seems to have a hard place in their heart for Israel. Why is that? Does anybody understand it? Can you explain it for the rest of us?

    I don't think the Left would be this heartless regarding ANY other country in the world. I mean we have helped avoid genocide, illness, starvation, etc, in countries on every continent in the world, but this one small place seems to miss out on ANY of their compassion. WHY is that? Is it part of their political ideology? A religious thing?

    I mean it can't be a religious thing... the Left claims to have no animosity towards ANY religion. Why do they hate Israel? Why the intolerance for this one small nation? I just hope somebody can explain it.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    Let's see how fast the Deseret News Editorial Board changes its tune if they all had sons and daughters (or grandkids) serving in Anbar Province. Yes, we have lost ground. We were never going to keep it. Ask Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the British, the Soviets, and now us. Our military bleeds our coffers dry and this editorial board recommends we spend more in blood and gold. When the hawks bring back the draft, I'll start listening to this drivel.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    Just a thought..
    Wouldn't Jewish people be safer, and even more financially successful, living here in the United States?
    Did they have any idea how "scary" and uncertain life would be living in the Middle East around those who did not like or respect them (for obvious historical reasons)?
    The United States would not have to keep looking after the people of Israel, financing them, etc. if they had stayed/or come to America.
    Guess it is probably too late....

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    How can you stipulate "the destruction of Israel would be intolerable"... but out of the other side of your mouth say, "We must be totally neutral"?

    If someone tries to incinerate Israel we have promised to help defend them.

    And that's exactly what Hamas, Iran and the Palestinian people have clearly and openly stated is their goal!

    So how do we stay completely neutral... and at the same time prevent the destruction of Israel? Just tell Hamas to stop it? We've already tried that for years and years... and it hasn't worked!

    We can totally turn our back on Israel (as you suggest)... OR... promise to help defend them IF someone should try to wipe them off the map. Then hope nobody tries to wipe them off the map, so we don't have to actually do anything.

    Palestine and Hamas are not completely innocent. And Israel has made some mistakes as well. But just turning our back on Israel (to placate the Muslim community)... doesnt seem wise (to me). Probably seems wise to you though.

    Giving up Israel would not change radical Muslim's hatred of the West OR bring peace.

  • live_simply Tooele, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    Its easy for people to say what is going on from over here in the safety of there houses. But we gave up a very important place in Iraq for a military base. And to keep balance in the region. What we gain why don't you go ask the vets and men that are still in the military what they think about it. You only hear what the media what's you to hear. It is crazy what some of use believe. If you want the really story on thing you have to take a little bit from each new outlet. Or you join the military and go over there.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    As a follow-up to this villain of the moment in the White House perfunctory editorial...

    Why not an editorial that gets at the heart of the delusions that have crippled US foreign policy for decades?

    Why not a dissection of the myths that befuddle US approaches to the outside world and fuel delusions of omnipotence?

    Why not an editorial exploring the folly of imposing a political order on a population(s) animated by antipathy toward foreign occupiers?

  • Simple Truths Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Should we occupy the world?

    The Iraqi and Afghan peoples deserve the right to self determination. It's up to them to figure out what kind of nations they will be. Think about it, we built a democracy because we took our fate into our own hands. They need to do the same or else they will continue to rally around the one cause all the factions have in common: fighting back against the perceived threat from the West. Remove that ingredient, and they can sort things out for themselves without the constant cry to push back against the "Crusaders"

    We brought war to their lands to root out terrorists and stabilize oil sources. Our military did great things at our request, and it's time to take the lessons we've learned and apply them to the present. Giving credibility to the claims of radical theocrats will undermine our cause and the potential for democracy.

    Short term stability isn't a good trade for strengthening the extremists long term.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 9, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    Does the Deseret News have anything concrete to propose? To say the U.S. stands to lose what it’s gained is merely stating the obvious. Critics of the two Middle East involvements who warned of this quagmire can smugly say I told you so.

    What’s left? If continuing U.S. military presence is the default solution, that could go on indefinitely or at least as long as al Qaida has the muscle to cause havoc. At some point, Iraq and Afghanistan have to take responsibility for their own internal security. They’re had a decade to prepare for the day they knew would come.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    Re: 2bits "USA backing away and promising total neutrality would only insure Israel's total destruction. But I think you know that." Let me stipulate that the destruction of Israel would be intolerable. But somehow we've got to get the message to the Israelis that they can't settle the westbank to the point of shoving Palestinians into the Mediterranean.

    Re: Richie "We should withdraw our troops from Pakistan, Aphganistan (sic), Iraq and quit fiddling with Iran. Then we should turn them all into desert wasteland. Take no prisoners." Such genocide on the part of the United States would secure pariah status for us - it would be the end of us.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    Re: "Palestinians launch bottle rockets while Israel fires rockets filled with white phosphorus . . . ."

    Yeah, you'd think that anyone with half a brain would stop launching those "bottle rockets," wouldn't you?

    And, BTW, when's the last time someone launched a "bottle rocket" at you, requiring you to bed down your children in the basement to avoid injury or death?

    And, if you say WWII, why would you begrudge Israelis the same security our parents fought and died for fighting deranged German aggression? Why is German aggression bad, while Arab aggression is somehow excusable?

    It's certainly not the "image of a poor, weak Israel" I'm trying to invoke here. Israel's doing fine. It's America and the "civilized" West that worries me.

    When and why did Americans and Europeans start caring more for barbaric villains than for our only real and worthy ally in the area?

    Or, perhaps better said, when did America adopt the deranged attitudes of post-WWII European lemmings?

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    I'm old enough to remember Vietnam. We said we wouldn't repeat the mistake. We did.

    The middle east citizens are tribal (sunni,shiite, kurds). They have been that way for centuries. Their "borders" are, for the most part, sections of land that the West has carved out for them and said "this is Israel, this is Iraq", etc. They, for the most part, are tribal
    warriors, and they, most probably, always will be.
    We can no longer afford to be the worlds policeman. We have actual troops (besides embassy Marines)in over 90 countries of the world. When does it end?
    I feel terrible that we lost over 4000 service members in Iraq. But losing another 4000 doesn't make the first 4000 any more alive!

    We can't afford to do any more "nation building" our own country needs "building". Besides, who better to build a nation than their own citizens? - assuming they even WANT their nation built? i.e. STOP sectarian violence?

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    @cjb - "Perhaps we should go to back to Vietnam" ...and how many Vietnamese terrorist had flown planes into American buildings?

    @ UT Brit -"The invasion has accomplished nothing except to open the door nice and wide for al qaida." Thanks to Obama for successfully negotiating the exit that enable Al Qaida to succeed...Oh wait, but Obama and his buddies said the Al Qaida had been decimated...were they lying again?

    Gates newly released book says Obama decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan were purely politics, why is anyone surprised at the outcome?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    If the US can't afford to lose this battle, then Bush/Cheney voting republicans need to do two things: 1-pay for it out of their own pockets and 2-enlist and go fight it yourselves.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    Al Qaeda and Iran would still hate us even if we changed our policy on Israel. They are using that as an excuse.

    But it would take a lot of the wind out of their sails. That is what one may consider to be one of the blessings of doing the right thing.

    It isn't our values to help the strong oppress the weak.

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    We should not be in any war unless we want to win. The last time that happened was WW II. We received collateral damage at Pearl Harbor and retaliated by assisting the RAF in bombing Germany into rubble. We fire bombed Tokyo and used the nuke twice on Japan. Those nasty old nukes probably saved 4,000,000 Americans, most of them your fathers and grandfathers. We should withdraw our troops from Pakistan, Aphganistan, Iraq and quit fiddling with Iran. Then we should turn them all into desert wasteland. Take no prisoners.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    RE "There is a third way out, and that would be for the United States to assume a policy of real neutrality in Palestine"... (Marxist)

    But that would almost certainly eventually result in the inhalation of millions of Jews... But I think you know that, and either don't care or WANT that result.

    We should not sacrifice the lives of millions of innocent Jewish civilians at the alter of placating the Muslim world, or in hopes of gaining a degree of credibility in the Muslim world.

    I can't believe how callus the left is to the plight of the Jewish people. It's like they are just vermin... something that we either don't care about, or something that SHOULD be destroyed.


    I'm sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians too. But they have other options.

    USA backing away and promising total neutrality would only insure Israel's total destruction. But I think you know that.

  • azreader1 tucson, AZ
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    It was foolish of us to have ever given up a solid military presence in Iraq. A U.S. military base in Iraq would have been the perfect launching point to protect the U.S.'s critical interests in the Middle East (and yes, that includes oil). By giving up that strategic and tactical advantage, we truly squandered an irreplaceable opportunity.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    "In our opinion: U.S. can't afford to lose all it gained in Iraq, Afghanistan"

    We gained the elimintation of Al Qaeda from Afghanistan. And I am agree that we can't afford to lose in Afghanistan.

    But the government of Afghanistan is corrupt. They have been warned and warned and they still have not listened. If we stay we send out the message that we were not serious in our warnings.

    There a governor in South Carolina who had a mistress. His wife found out, forgave him and told him to stop. But he went back anyway. She divorced him. She said, "I can forgive adultery, but I can't condone it."

    Our message to Karzai and Afghanistan is: "We can forgive corruption, but we can't condone it."

    If the Taliban take over again, they will probably not invite Al Qaeda. What I understand is that they have realized that it worked out badly for them in the 1990's.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    By all means, let's waste more blood and treasure in Iraq. What a disgusting mess Cheney created there.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    Turns out you can't jump into a 1000+ year conflict between Sunni and Shi'a and think you're going to magically make it all better.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Jan. 9, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    Can't lose what we gained? What did we gain? 4500 American lives lost, 100000 or more Iraqies killed. A trillion dollars in treasure spent. No weapons of mass destruction removed. A replacement Islamic state aligned with Iran. Continuing tribal bloodshed. Ill will from various places.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    "In recent history, the United States has had to maintain a long-term presence in various nations in which it has secured liberty. Germany, Japan and South Korean are examples of this." The only difference is they stopped shooting at us shortly after the surrender.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    Anybody who didn't at least suspect that we would loose the ground we gained in Iraq and Afghanistan if we elected Barack Obama... was smoking something. He campaigned on that promise.

    Problem is... the majority of Americans don't care what happens in Iraq or Afghanistan now. So it's time we got out. I don't want my kids dieing for something we don't care about.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Jan. 9, 2014 9:41 a.m.


    Look at how many Israelis have died in the past 10 years compared to how many Palestinians. Palestinians launch bottle rockets while Israel fires rockets filled with white phosphorus over one of the most densly populated places on the planet.

    If you are trying to invoke the image of a poor, weak Israel the facts show the complete opposite.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 9, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    What we gained from Iraq:

    Thousands of dead Iraqis and American soldiers.
    Added nearly $1 trillion to the U.S debt.
    Destabilized Iraq, creating thousands of Iraqi refugees and civil war.
    Emboldened Iran

    Now:a haven for terrorists

    Americans are tired of fighting wars in the middle east and elsewhere which result in little to no net gain for either the citizens of the country or American safety and security. We are looked at by residents of the countries we invade with more derision and blame than gratitude.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    Re: "There is a third way out, and that would be for the United States to assume a policy of real neutrality in Palestine."

    "Real neutrality" would require us to be much more supportive of the Israeli side that we have been for many years.

    The Obama regime has spent enormous quantities of time, money, and political capital trying to prevent Israel's defending itself from Arab attacks on innocent Israeli women and children.

    To what end? It has done nothing but embolden radical Islamists to blame ALL their barbaric misbehavior on Israel -- and us, of course.

    It's gotten so bad that even otherwise reasonable Americans are now suggesting actions they know would generate a new Jewish holocaust, as if we somehow owe that to Arabs in the region.

    It's beyond sad.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 9, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    The article assumes we should have been in Iraq in the first place so what we "gained" had some value.

    Wrong on both accounts.

    Actually I find this opinion stunning and really scary. To think the neocons are still out there lurking just waiting for another "moderate" Republican President (think Chris Christie) so they can continue their agenda in the middle east, sends chills up my spine.

    I like Marist's solution, and cjb's suggestion of re-visiting Vietnam as a contrast.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    The fact that major cities are now under al Quaeda only shows that the Bush wars were a huge mistake that only made things worse over the long run. Hussein may have been a bad guy (one we loved at one point), but what did we gain. Thousands of dead Americans and trillions of dollars wasted on a Bush boondoggle that we are still paying for.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    Ditto the previous comments. Bush-Chenney orchestrated the most horrific calamity of our time with the invasion of Iraq. Our country and the world was in no urgent danager and world leaders pleaded with Bush to slow down and let the inspectors finish their work. Bush-Chenney thought they had an opportunity to change the dynamic in that region. What they ended up doing was destroying lives, families and communities for generations. We can't undo what's been done. Other than prayers and humanatarian relief there is little we can do to bring solace to the victims of this tradegy.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    Perhaps we should go to back to Vietnam and finish what we started there too? If we started up the draft again it might not cost so much.

    Has it ever occured to you that it isn't our job to fight every war on this planet?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 6:25 a.m.

    "Comments about ‘In our opinion: U.S. can't afford to lose all it gained in Iraq, Afghanistan"


    What is it exactly that we have gained from these wars? and and what is so important about continuing to fight over there that we ought to continue borrowing from China and the rest of the world to pay for these wars?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 9, 2014 5:34 a.m.

    so, several questions

    - how long are we supposed to occupy Iraq
    - How long are we supposed to occupy Afghanistan?
    - How much will it cost
    - What exactly are we achieving

    Or a bigger question. What was the purpose of going into these places in the first place?

  • UT Brit London, England
    Jan. 9, 2014 4:30 a.m.

    The US gained something in Iraq?

    Saddam was a tyrant but he was a tyrant holding a bag of snakes. The Iraqi people are now suffering with daily car bombs, roaming death squads and poor living conditions.

    The invasion has accomplished nothing except to open the door nice and wide for al qaida.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2014 1:30 a.m.

    Well I guess we have to revisit the controversy surrounding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Deseret News is right in pointing out that the United States has enormous sunk costs in those two wars, both in terms of wealth expended and bloodshed, and a whole generation of military with incurable disabilities. So what would you have the Obama administration do? Send more troops in? How many more casualties will you put up with? As soon as the United States leaves either theater the locals will go back to their old animosities. Remember, Iraq in particular is a totally artificial country - cobbled together to help the British exploit the region for oil. If things don't change in those areas the United States has two options: 1) get out, or 2) bulk up there and stay forever.

    There is a third way out, and that would be for the United States to assume a policy of real neutrality in Palestine. This would get the United States some degree of credibility in the Muslim world. Without such a change our options are limited.