I was standing in line at our local Credit Union today and noticed a man standing at one of the teller windows. The backside of his T-shirt had a map of Iraq and above the map read "Proud to have served in Iraq" and the bottom read "No regrets". My heart sank.
I wondered what was in this man's mind. Did he not care about the massive evidence that reveals George W. Bush and Tony Blair lied their way into that war? Did he not care that the Democrats in Congress largely went right along for the ride? (They knew the military production corporations located in their congressional districts were salivating over the thought of the profits they would make from 'shock and awe'.) Was the man wearing the shirt not at all touched by the devastation of Iraq, the environment, and the Iraqi people themselves? Was he not angry seeing his own fellow soldiers killed and seriously wounded - all for a frigging lie?
Today the conditions in Iraq are worse than ever. The U.S. did succeed in one sense and that was to create endless war and chaos in the region. The massive cost to U.S. taxpayers (including the man with the T-shirt) is now well over $4 trillion and counting. That money is coming out of his pocket and the potholes in our Maine roads, that he likely complains about, are just one small result. In addition are the local and state tax increases that he probably also complains about since Washington dumped most social and infrastructure programs on the locals to pay for or shut down. Washington has wars to wage and thus they send 54% of every discretionary federal tax dollar to the Pentagon.
No regrets? Iraq is a disaster - refugees are pouring out of there - and Afghanistan, Syria, Libya too - but still no regrets? Our own country is falling apart - and no regrets?
Eugene Debs (five time candidate for President of the US representing the Socialist Party) said: "Let the capitalists do their own fighting and furnish their own corpses and there will never be another war on the face of the earth."
My regret is the man in the T-shirt does not seem to know what solidarity means. He does not understand that a working stiff was sent to kill other working and poor people so they could be robbed of their oil by the big banksters. My regret is the man in the T-shirt has swallowed the bait about the US being an 'exceptional' nation. In his desire to find meaning in his own life, this man has ignored the humanity of millions of his own brothers and sisters in Iraq who have suffered needlessly and immorally.
It was a crime to attack Iraq and is even a greater crime not to know it.