If you are having an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu as you watch the news, there is a good reason. This week there were air strikes on a country where a focused and violent dictator has brutalized his own people. A coalition of forces, with the U.S. front and center, used its power to help the local population.
The recent action was of course the result of a U.N. resolution to help the Libyan people by authorizing forces to “take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.” Those necessary measures began on March 19, 2011 — exactly eight years to the day after President George Bush announced that military operations would begin in Iraq to “remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.” The next sentence of that speech now, sadly, sounds optimistic. President Bush said, “I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon.”
The Iraq war has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers, and more than 30,000 have been wounded. Many of us are thinking about those casualties as we watch the military action over Libya. And as we begin another year in Iraq, we present a story reported by filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud. It provides a window into the world of three veterans of that war. They are home now, living a life they probably couldn’t have imagined eight years ago this week.