The Worst is Yet to Come

Charlie Sykes 7-9 minutes 3/20/2023
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

After an especially deranged weekend news cycle, let’s take inventory:


As I mentioned on Morning Joe, consider this counterfactual: Republicans could have said “Let’s see what the grand jury and the prosecutor decide.” Or: “We should let the justice system play out. Everyone should have their day in court. But we should have faith in the criminal justice system.” Or: “Maybe this is a good time to take the off-ramp, since this may be only the first of multiple criminal charges.”

Yeah, no. That didn’t happen.

Instead, both MAGA-friendly and anti-anti-Trump pundits used the threat of violence as a reason not to charge the former president. So we got lots of talk about backlash and why it should probably intimidate prosecutors in New York, Georgia, and the Department of Justice.

And we got this sort of flex:

Let’s stipulate a few things:



“Moral Injuries: Remembering what the Iraq War was like, 20 years later.”

Will Selber is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force, who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force or the Department of Defense.)

This a tough, tough read, so be warned. But it’s a story that has to be told.

Many veterans only give PG-13 stories when asked about their time downrange. We sanitize the truth for public consumption. After my first deployment in 2006, I met with friends over drinks. After a few too many, they asked me about my deployment and I told the truth. I told them about a dead, mutilated child we found on the road. Nobody spoke to me the rest of the night.

The lesson I took from that was that people generally don’t want to hear the truth about America’s wars. So I buried it.

But the only way to ensure a smooth transition for my comrades-in-arms is for us to be heard. Not just the stories of bravery, courage, and gallantry. But also the stories of shame, humiliation, and regret.

The discounts at stores are great. Boarding planes first is appreciated. But, after twenty years of war, many of us just want to share our stories with the people we fought for—without judgment and with your full, undivided attention.

So today, on the twentieth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, resist the urge to dunk on your ideological opponents. Pause to reflect on the Iraqis who lost their lives. Remember our Gold Star families, whose grief is unimaginable. Pray for our service members still serving in Iraq.

Seek out an Iraq veteran and don’t just thank them for their service. Instead, ask them to share their stories.