Thursday, August 19, 2010

War is over?

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.


  1. Mike, I think this is one point we can agree on! The isolationist policies would:
    -Keep our borders safer
    -Save money
    -Address domestic issues more aggressively, while not focusing as much on foreign policy
    -Keep us neutral unless attacked/under imminent threat of attack. We should never be the country that invades for no cause.

  2. That said, I'm not crying that Saddam is gone.

  3. if the US doesn't police the world, no one will...that is the problem. i don't want to live in a world where the north koreans can blow up south korean ships for no reason and know that nobody will threaten them. why should china be allowed to claim the entire yellow sea for themselves, when it actually isn't theirs. being a superpower comes with some responsibilities and i would rather live with those than not have a say in how the world should be shaped.

  4. We attacked Iraq in 2003 at the same time when Iran and North Korea were working to create nuclear weapons. Seven years later, nothing has changed except Saddam is dead and Iraq is in shambles. We have few military options with North Korea and Iran -- even as they move forward with their nuclear programs -- because our military is stretched thin in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It's one thing to say we should police the world, but it is strategically and fiscally impossible to do so.

  5. well iran is still working to create nuclear weapons...and when they get close enough to having one israel will start dropping bombs and we will support them because we have to.

    north korea is also still working on nuclear weapons...and we can't really stop them because it would cause WW3. but when they get one and use it on south korea, there will be WW3 anyways.

    so i wouldn't say the only reason we haven't done anything is because of a lack of troops or because it would put us more in debt. sitting around and doing nothing isn't really a good solution either.

  6. We spent the last seven years sitting around and doing nothing with North Korea and Iran. Instead, we spent that time dropping bombs on a country that did not have WMD capabilities. It's my belief that we would be in a stronger position to stop North Korea and Iran had we not waged war in Iraq. But that's just my opinion, of course.

  7. well north korea is backed by china and iran is backed by russia...nobody was will to step up for iraq.

  8. Al Qaida kinda stepped up for Iraq... not in a benevolent, big brother sort of way... more like a "hey, let's use this place as a trap." Seriously, al qaida's presence in Iraq prior to our invasion was minimal at best. Our milkshake brought all the martyrs to the yard.