To the Editor:
Many American lives were lost to secure the city of Mosul for the Iraqis. Thanks to mistakes by the previous administration, we returned the land recovered and basically withdrew from Iraq.
It was not the end. It was, for all practical purposes, the beginning.
The absence of American boots on the ground was the opportunity the militants needed.
On July 10, the prime minister of Iraq declared a “total victory” in Mosul. The same day, a statement from the Isalmic State (ISIS) claimed that the militants were still attacking, killing Iraqi soldiers and taking their weapons and ammo.
There’s no doubt that airstrikes have been the number one reason for the Iraqi soldiers’ progress, but in my opinion, it does not add to a total victory as claimed by the prime minister.
In June 2014, there were two Iraqi divisions in and around Mosul, a city that many Americans lost their lives in order to secure for the Iraqis.
Those two divisions (a total of approximately 30,000 Iraqi soldiers) were attacked by approximately 800 militants who proceeded to run them out of Mosul, capture the city, their equipment, weapons and even uniforms that they discarded as they ran away.
My hope is that this time they can defeat the militants without any doubt. It will be their way to prove that all those billions spent by the USA in training, equipment, weapons and air support was not wasted.
If they are successful, it appears that having American boots on the ground would be a necessity, not an option, in Iraq.
Perhaps some day we’ll see the militants fly a white flag instead of a black one.
P. C. Santiago
retired master sergeant