NBC News reported Wednesday night that the last brigade of American combat troops has left Iraq. But how can that be true when 50,000 American military personnel remain in country as "support" for the Iraqi army?
It comes with some relief to know that military operations in Iraq will officially end at the end of the month. Still, it seems like that message is a smokescreen for the reality that we are still bogged down in a country that never wanted us there in the first place. More than seven years after "shock and awe" decapitated Saddam Hussein and his tyrannical government, we found it much more difficult to conquer a people that had never before tasted freedom.
Still, our previous president made it seem like this was the next logical step after 9/11 when the American people were conditioned to war. I was never one of those suckers who thought we should invade Iraq. But I do remember being a naive freshman in college when the world changed for America.
I'll never forget when my father and I attended the first regular season game at Heinz Field on Oct. 7, 2001. During halftime, the crowd roared after President Bush announced that the first bombs were being dropped on Afghanistan. While I knew this was the right action, I just looked at President Bush on the JumboTron and wondered when it would end and whether we would be safer. Little did I know that we'd also be dropping bombs elsewhere 17 months later.
Sadly, we have become a people that accepts war. Unlike the isolationist attitude that built our foreign policy before the world wars of the 20th century, we have become the key global decision-maker in what is right and wrong. As an American, I don't want that burden. There are an untold number of injustices in this world, and how are we do decide which dictator should fall?
The announcement that combat operations are over in Iraq (more than seven years after this foolish declaration) is a bittersweet moment. And I hope that future generations will look at this war -- along with its painful ramifications -- and decide that it's just not worth fighting for.
In Memoriam: Tripp Zanetis, 1980 - 2018
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