In March 2003, I was standing in a Navy hanger bay, staring at a TV with 30 other people. We watched as President George Bush announced the beginning of the Iraq war, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Everyone felt so excited and relieved by this announcement. This was justice; this is what most Americans wanted after 9/11. It has been 7 years since that announcement and now a new president announced the war is over. Again, so many are relieved to hear this, including myself.
I find myself pondering whether or not all the facts about what happened in Iraq were really disclosed. Or were American citizens just told whatever the media wanted us to know? I know many people who served in Iraq that have different feelings about what we were doing there, compared to what civilians were saying about this war. Either way, I feel the United States was trying to do the right thing, even after the September 11 attack on our country by terrorists.
We didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction. Were we asked by Iraqi officials to come clean up the mess a cruel leader created on their turf? I know we want to help those who seem to need it, but are we the right people to step in without being asked?
I think we needed to take some time and focus on our country. We had time immediately after the attack to handle our vengeance. So why did it take 9 years to decide homeland issues were more important than trying to save another country, culture, religion, and a very different government? Sometimes you just need to step aside and let life balance itself out.
According to costofwar.com, the Iraq war has cost American citizens more than 745 billion dollars, and that number continues to rise each second. Imagine if we had put all that money towards our citizens. We could have been educating those who want to go that route, helping entrepreneurs accomplish their greatest ideas, assisting scientists in new discoveries, maybe making our way to Mars. I’m not sure our decision to stay in Iraq was the most financially sound.
And it’s just not about the money. We have lost more than 5,600 soldiers, which is updated frequently on projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen. Nearly 100,000 civilians per iraqbodycount.org have died since the war began. The cost of war is the loss of lives. Death is a part of life; war shouldn’t be the cause of death. I know that our soldiers signed up for the job to do the right thing and they are trained to react the right way. It’s just depressing to think of the loss, pain and struggles family and friends go through because of political motives.
I will say I am proud to be an American, I will support our government and I will do my duty as a US citizen to vote so that I can make a difference. The American life is the real deal; so many people desire and envy the success of our nation.
People want to be individuals, they want to have a say in their lives, and not be dictated by anyone who thinks they deserve the right to control another’s life. But a lot of societies struggle with this idea. That is why the US has been so successful, we have almost mastered capitalism.
I am anticipating good things to begin happening for our economy now. This was a historical event that so many people were waiting to happen. And now it’s here. America can start rebuilding our country from the ground up, again. Educating our soldiers, who I believe deserve the best treatment, is a great start. Let’s educate our citizens, support our risk takers, and get back to being the greatest capitalist country in the world again. We can and we will.