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In response to "Nobel: Something for nothing" (letter, Oct. 16): Iraq had "peace" of a sort prior to our invasion in 2003.

Up to that point, our military’s job was to defend our country from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Prior to the invasion, we were keeping Iraq contained by flying cover using Operations Southern and Northern Watch Air Force assets, which were both cost-effective and, most importantly, had not cost us more than 4,500 dead American servicemembers, untold wounded and disabled servicemembers, and at least $1 trillion-plus in American treasure — not to mention the tens of thousands of family members/friends who lost loved ones, the massively increased military divorce rates and the severe upswing in military suicides caused by waging elective war.

Maybe the Nobel committee took some of these things into consideration when it gave our new commander in chief the Nobel Peace Prize, just because there’s the smallest chance he might have learned from past mistakes and might have the courage to change direction, at least in Iraq.

I respect all of my fellow servicemembers’ service in Iraq, especially the ones who’ve endured multiple deployments. We do what we’re told; we’re volunteers, even if we’re sent to war by weak-minded elected officials for less-than-good reasons.

Our leaders should realize this before they consider any future elective wars.

Senior Master Sgt. Burl StubblefieldRamstein Air Base, Germany

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