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Letter: Iraqis better off, but us?

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allegedly tried to

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allegedly tried to arrange the assassination of President George H.W. Bush during the U.S. leader's 1993 visit to Kuwait. (Jan. 6, 1998) Credit: AP

Columnist Cathy Young provides a shallow analysis of the costs of the Iraq War ["Iraqis are better off without Hussein," Opinion, March 26].

Any retrospective that fails to include costs of the Iraq War to our own country is shameful and disingenuous, so let me remind her: Approximately 4,500 Americans dead and 32,000 Americans wounded. We are closing in on $2 trillion in spending removed from our own Treasury -- a number just about twice as much as the painful sequester calls for over 10 years.

All this to gain, as Young claims, an approximate 50 percent approval rating from the Iraqi people. And now we learn that the backlog of claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded to 900,000, because of recent additions from Iraq veterans, which means we will be paying for the Iraq War for decades to come.

And the result? An Iraqi government that is friendly with Iran, is unwilling to stop Iranian fly-overs that assist Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, and is barely thankful for our efforts.

Young says she was "ambivalently pro-war" in 2003. That just means she was pro-war. More distressing is that she says she is still ambivalent today. My suggestion to her would be, next time survey the American people about the efficacy of the Iraq War, rather than the Iraqi people. She will get a completely different answer.

Jim Finlay, Sayville

Cathy Young's spurious assertion that "Iraqis today have freedom of speech, religion and political activity that would have been unthinkable a dozen years ago" would be laughable were her op-ed not given a place of prominence in Newsday.

Is Young unaware of the ethnic cleansing that has essentially exiled virtually the entirety of the Assyrian and Chaldean Christian communities from their ancestral homelands? Is she not aware that the bare semblance of peace in that benighted land is due only to the fact that the remaining Sunnis, Shias and Kurds have segregated themselves, after much bloodshed, to their own enclaves? And this was worth the deaths of 4,500 U.S. service men and women, and nearly $2 trillion of borrowed money?

Michael Campanelli, Greenlawn

The real question is, Is America better off? Iraq and the region have not been stabilized.

And what about the 100,000-plus dead Iraqis? Are they better off?

Stanford M. Altschul, Oceanside