What does the U.S. owe Iraq vets?

Nobody wants to think that American soldiers died for nothing — 50,000 lost their lives in Vietnam and America lost that war.

Now, the developing civil war in Iraq is raising the question anew: “How much of the decision to get involved in Iraq again should involve the fact that the U.S. has already lost more than 4,000 soldiers there?”

Secretary of State John Kerry focused on the question today in an interview on NBC’s Today Show.

“The test is in really these next few days and weeks, and we are going to do everything in our power to follow through and try to get the job done through diplomacy, if we can, in order to honor their sacrifice,” he said.

“What do you say to the veterans who are wondering what was it all for?” Kerry was asked.

“That remains to be seen,” he said. “The test will be in the next days and weeks.”

But the answer was heavily edited and we don’t know the full context. But the reporter’s question is one for a wider audience.

Related: Chaos in Iraq prompts soul-searching among military veterans (The Washington Post).

Veterans Offer Each Other Help as Iraq Falls Apart (Time).