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Iraq War ends without the proper fanfare
December 17, 2011 - Michael Palmer
Without fanfare, almost ignored by our national media, the flag of American forces in Iraq was lowered in Baghdad, bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end.
The US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars. Nearly 4,500 Americans were killed and 32,000 wounded. The Iraqi death toll is estimated at more than 100,000.
Several young men and women who are friends, relatives and some former athletes on teams I have coached were deployed into Iraq and all thankfully returned safe and unharmed.
The sad part of this to me is that, in a world where we celebrate mediocrity and hand out participation trophies, soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who went into a hostile nation where the world's fourth largest army was waiting with modern weapons and kicked hind end.
The U.S. led allied forces swept through the defense forces like a warm knife through butter. Despite being hated by the people they had freed from a dictatorship, despite IEDs and roadside bombs that killed and maimed our troops we occupied the nation with the same respect and dignified behavior that has made us the model of democracy across the globe.
Yet there were no ticker tape parades, no welcome home celebrations with local officials, marching bands and news cameras; just a simple flag lowering ceremony to mark the end of the war.
There was no "Mission Accomplished" banner. No victory parade through the liberated Baghdad. No crowds of cheering Iraqis grateful for liberation from Saddam Hussein. No senior Iraqi political figures even bothered to attend.
This angers me, I feel the troops deserve more,
I saw the unpopular Vietnam War and the veterans who returned without the proper welcome for our combat troops.
I feel our government has again let us down and I hope local communities will take up the slack and celebrate their local troops home with the proper fanfare for our conquering heroes.
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