Soldiers in Fantasyland

Disney World in central Florida recently opened a large expansion and renovation of its Fantasyland area. Kids can ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Mad Tea Party, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan’s Flight. Although adults can ride too, the difference is that they know these things are all fantasy – or at least they are supposed to.

Some American adults have not only ridden the rides at Fantasyland, they live in Fantasyland. Their conception of what the U.S. military accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan belongs in a ride in Fantasyland. It is wishful thinking. It is pure fantasy.

It is bad enough when civilian American adults live their lives in Fantasyland; it is even worse when soldiers do.

I recently responded to a former soldier who had written to me concerning my article, “Marines, Why Do You Do This To Your Families?” I quoted this paragraph from his letter:

So was it worth it? Ask the women who now have fundamental human rights for the first time. Ask the children who can now attend school and get an education (schools that groups of insurgents haven’t hidden a cache of weapons and explosives underneath). Ask the farmer who can now grow crops to feed his family, and his village, rather than poppy fields to create opium to line Al Qaeda’s pocket (because if he didn’t, they would systematically kill his family until he complied). Ask the people of Iraq who no longer have to worry about Saddam Hussein’s regime of terror.

For the sake of argument, I did not dispute the soldier’s claims. Instead, I pointed out that for many, many others besides these women, children, farmers, and Iraqis, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was not worth it at all. I did the same thing in my article about the end of the Iraq War, “Was It Worth It?”:

Okay, suppose it’s all true – and then some. Suppose it’s even better than anyone could have imagined. What if Iraq is now a model democracy for the rest of the world? What if Iraq now has a constitution that rivals our own? What if ther