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Tale of two wars
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Eleven years ago, President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. We quickly crushed the Taliban-controlled military and began our search.

Americans solidly supported the war, but our leaders' focus shifted to Iraq.

The Afghan mission morphed into "nation building," creating a Western-style democracy. Over centuries, several nations tried and failed to change the basic nature of Afghanistan.

How much do we want to invest to change that tribal society? Why? How many American soldiers will our new Afghan "allies" murder before we accept the futility of our Afghan war?

Like Afghanistan, Iraq became a mess. Our only real achievement was eliminating Saddam Hussein, which ended the rule by the minority Sunnis and allowed the Shiite majority to take control. Navy SEALs could have done as much with less bloodshed and financial stress.

Bush's legacy was tax cuts for the rich and two unfunded wars in which only our GIs made sacrifices. We should have the good sense to leave Afghanistan now.

We should raise taxes and cut costs. And the "party of no" — the Republicans — should join up. Only a united America with teamwork and bipartisan cooperation can end our mess.

Gil Iker

Salt Lake City

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