Admit to mistakes and learn from the past

Published: Sunday, January 9, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 10:52 p.m.
One of the most difficult things we have to learn as mature adults is to be willing to admit that we were profoundly wrong on a matter of great importance.
America's decision to go to war in Iraq, led by an ahistorical and arrogant leader who was convinced that he is God's instrument, has now been clearly demonstrated to be a catastrophic error of tragic magnitude.
We chose to wage war with a nation that not only has a profoundly different religion, but which also viewed all Americans as despised infidels - a nation that has never known democracy or true law and order, and certainly was not prepared to believe that Americans were going to deliver it to them on the point of a bayonet.
It turned out, despite the claims of the Bush administration, that Iraq did not have significant ties to the 9-11 terrorists. Iraq did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, they had no real ability to harm our nation, but they did have the capacity to engage in guerrilla warfare and do great damage to our soldiers and to our reputation for having invincible armed forces.
We have already lost some 1,300 dead in Iraq, we have suffered some 9,000 wounded and the best estimates indicate we have killed some 10,000 Iraqis, many of whom may have been innocent of trying to harm our forces - they were merely victims of our artillery and air bombardments.
We tried to hang on in Vietnam long after it was clear that we were not going to win there, and we lost some 50,000 additional lives in that hopeless endeavor. Is a new generation going to pay the awful price again of our not learning from history?
Robert Primack, Gainesville

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