This is a picture of a friend of mine in Iraq not long before the two of us departed the country about six months before the final departure of all American troops from the country. That entire melodrama was one of the most divisive subjects in American politics and in the American population at large for almost a decade. More than 4,000 American troops, over 16,000 Iraq police and security forces, and over 1,000 government contractors died. An accurate accounting of civilian deaths is impossible in any practical sense, but most sources agree that it was at least 100,000. Depressing. And for what? Overthrowing Saddam Hussein? Establishing a democratic foothold in the Middle East? Oil? Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons? I doubt anyone can provide an actual answer other than a blanket “yes”. This isn’t to imply that we accomplished nothing aside from death and destruction. No, there are definitely pockets of positive effects… a functional (though contentious) representative government, improved infrastructure here and there, Mesopotamian marshland restoration… but, ultimately, we undertook a task we were not prepared for and are now paying for it with a diminished global reputation, a humbled economy and a reduction in our personal liberties. Let’s hope American involvement in Afghanistan comes to a swift end so we can put this entire chapter of our history behind us and rebuild America… stronger, unified and on a solid moral foundation. We can do better… and we will.