My Son Was Killed In Iraq 14 Years Ago — Who’s Responsible?Roundup
tags: Iran, war on terror, Iraq War
Andrew J. Bacevich is the President of the Quincy Institute. He graduated from West Point and Princeton, served in the army, became an academic, and is now a writer. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than a dozen books.
Who should I hold responsible for the death of my son, killed in action while serving in Iraq 14 years ago this month?
A Washington-based law firm, Sparacino, has stepped up to offer a straightforward answer to that question: I should blame Iran. My wife and I recently received a letter from the firm inviting us to join a lawsuit against the Islamic Republic that will “empower us to attempt to seize Iranian assets on your behalf should any opportunities emerge.”
Sparacino’s case “seeks to hold Iran responsible for its material support for anti-American terrorists in Iraq from 2004 through the present.” Other Gold Star families — the firm claims to represent “hundreds of them” — will share in any potential windfall.
We gave this cynical proposition all the consideration it merits: We tossed it into the trash. Even so, the question implicit in this vile proposal to cash in on the deaths of American service members and exploit the grief of those they left behind nagged at me: Who is responsible for my son’s death?
Fingering Iran amounts to little more than an evasion. Viewed in retrospect, the Iranian government’s response to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq strikes me as rational, understandable, and arguably even justifiable.
After all, although Iran was uninvolved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the George W. Bush administration wasted no time in tagging it as a part of an “axis of evil,” targeted for destruction pursuant to a just-announced global war on terrorism. While Iraq ranked first on America’s hit list, no one believed that the war on terrorism would end once US forces toppled Saddam Hussein. “Liberating” Iraq was merely a first step. Iran was primed to come next on Washington’s “Freedom Agenda.”
However reluctantly, I am obliged to conclude that ultimate responsibility for my son’s death rests with we the people. After all, the architects of the “forever wars” — the sequence of ill-advised, mismanaged, in some instances illegal, and arguably immoral interventions that began with the invasion of Iraq — acted with our explicit or tacit concurrence.
Even today, the electorate shows little inclination to rethink the core assumptions informing basic US national security policy. Supporting the troops means suppressing second thoughts, asking few questions, and shoveling more money to the Pentagon.
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