Some around the world and here in the United States said it was all about getting Uncle Sam’s hands on all that Iraqi oil. Five years and a couple of months after the invasion and the oil in Iraq is just like the politics of the place: extremely fluid and hard to grasp.
Why we are still fighting in Iraq is open to any number of interpretations and we’re going to hear them all in the campaign for the presidency these coming months.
But it being the time of year that we have Memorial Day we are required to focus on a particular aspect of this Iraq war, the Afghanistan war and all the others before them, great and small. We are required to turn our thoughts and our hearts to those who have given their lives, their limbs, their youth, and sometimes their once peaceful minds for our country, its better vales and true freedoms.
The roll of the dead in Iraq is marching inexorably towards 5,000 while the number of servicemen and women maimed in this fight is in the tens of thousands.
We are not allowed to see them much. Mostly they are flown from bases to hospitals in the dead of night. There they have time to ask themselves was it all about the oil, or Saddam, or Bin Laden or democracy, or settling a score or two.
Doubtless there are many other questions in the daylight hours and in the dead of night.
But we who are lucky enough not to have to fight this war up close and personal have only one double-barreled question to ask ourselves this weekend.
How can we best honor those who did not come home, and how can we best help those who have.