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Voting for War
By Steve Krug (reviewer)
Voting for War: A US Congressman's Awakening to the Lies Behind the Iraq Invasion
by Walter B. Jones with Taylor Sisk
In a 2013 speech Walter Jones delivered to the Young Americans for Freedom: "I've always believed that this entire deception was driven by Cheney (and) I said, somewhat over-dramatically, Lyndon Johnson's probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam war and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney"
Walter Jones was (he died in 2019) an interesting man. He switched from being a Democrat to a Republican, was a lifelong conservative who voted for going into Iraq and rued doing so. The book does an excellent job of exposing the lies that got us into Iraq and discusses Jones' wrestling with the truth of how we march into wars. He was intellectually honest enough to admit he made a terrible mistake in supporting the US Invasion and human enough to talk about the emotional costs it took on the families of the military personnel and the country as a whole. He talked about the jingoism that fueled the "support the troops, support the war" notion ("Patriotic Correctness"- a term coined by Iraq veteran Phil Klay, noted in Voting For War) and tried to suggest ways from having a war based on lies happening again and again.
The book has short (from one to several paragraphs) insertions from people ranging from Ron Paul to Dennis Kucinich (who spell check wanted to change to Zucchini, btw). While Jones seemed to favor the Libertarian slant of Paul, he also said his mistrust of government didn't interfere with his job as a congressman.
Jones talked about the importance of debating the war despite that doing so was still construed, by most, as being anti-American. He talked about the lack of debate, both before and after the invasion, as having a profoundly disastrous effect on our credibility in the world. Closer to home, he said that not challenging the lies that got us into Iraq helped pave the way for Trump because we considered the lies/phony patriotism/nationalism as part of normal discourse.
In reading this book I kept thinking it would be great to give a copy to friends/family who still think Iraq was necessary and honorable. Jones was definitely a fellow who "honored the warrior, not the war."
"Well, I now see that being loyal to the men and women we sent to fight in Iraq would have meant getting them the hell out of there" -Walter Jones
Steve Krug is a retired Merchant Marine captain, was a conscientious objector during the American war in Vietnam and is a VVAW member.