Shortly after he announced a measured U.S. response to the violent turmoil in Iraq, President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a young Marine for heroism in Afghanistan.
It was stark reminder of the terrible costs of war even as angry hawks — including architects of the Bush administration’s 2003 launch of the Iraq War — demand Obama renew military involvement in the country torn by sectarian strife.
Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, 24, the medal recipient, lost an eye and had his arm shattered and his face nearly blown off when he sought to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade.
After multiple surgeries and more than two years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Carpenter has recovered enough to attend the ceremony and return to civilian life as a college student.
He and an entire generation bear the scars of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suffered death, or live with terrible injuries including lost limbs and traumatic brain injuries.
Some 4,500 American lives were lost in the Iraq War alone. A half-million Iraqis died. And it appears that the cost to the United States of the Iraq war based on President George W. Bush’s false premise that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction will reach $4 trillion, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times reported Thursday.
Polls show the vast majority of Americans have no appetite for another such costly war.
Yet warmongers persist.
As Iraq faces an onslaught of Islamic extremists, Republicans in Congress, including Kentucky’s senior Sen. Mitch McConnell, have begun partisan attacks on President Obama for his restraint.
McConnell, who never saw combat during the Vietnam War as a six-month Army Reservist, also seems eager to send young Americans off to war, is excoriating the president for failing to use “American military might.”
Obama has offered a measured plan for Iraq with limited military assistance, diplomacy and increased surveillance.
Critics should support realistic solutions in Iraq and stop clamoring for more war.
— The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.