Administrator’s note: This article is perfect in the way it illustrates how people lie to themselves about what happened, remain clueless about what really happened or are paid to provide a cover up while appearing to be “truth tellers”. I’ll let you decide.

By Danny Sjursen
Jul 3, 2014

From time to time, WhoWhatWhy discovers compelling voices you haven’t heard anywhere before. Here, we present U.S. Army Captain Danny Sjursen’s cutting analysis of U.S. wars since 9/11. It’s a timely reflection on the costs of freedom, and a major part of our national story now, 238 years after we declared independence.

What makes Sjursen’s perspective so intriguing is that he is, by all definitions, a model Army officer: West Point graduate in the top 10 percent of his class, decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and soon, a history lecturer at the U.S. Military Academy. A native of Staten Island, he lost eight friends and family members—all firefighters—in the collapse of the Twin Towers. He’s the author of the forthcoming book “Surge of Candor: Reflections on Soldiers, Service and the War in Iraq”.

Here, Sjursen is writing as himself and the views are his own, not those of the government or the Army that still employs him. What this cavalry officer says about our wars will surprise you, whether you agree or not.


Maybe the American people get the wars they deserve. Or is that too harsh?

Perhaps much of the blame for our continuing Century of War lies with the bill of goods we were sold by well-funded, fundamentalist ideologues in that perfect storm of incompetence known as the Bush administration. It’s been 13 years since the Twin Towers crumbled in my hometown, nearly seven since I returned from my first war, and still I’m torn on the issue.

Here’s a fact: the United States military possesses finite resources. Despite the rhetoric many of us were raised on—that of perpetual growth, unipolar power, and undiminished potential—our armed forces have serious limitations. Our constraints include capability, funding, and willpower.

It’s true that American soldiers and marines have fought, and died, with great poise, professionalism, and courage. I’ve witnessed it first-hand. But that doesn’t change one salient truth: we haven’t won in either Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s worth asking why, before we embark on any more overseas military ventures.

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