Iraq, Ten Years Later

At that time, I wasn’t too into politics. 9/11 changed things for us, no doubt; it was our senior fall, the moment of my high school experience encapsulated in the amber of the fallen most of all, their families, their friends, their loved ones, everyone whom they had touched.  K.R.’s look in my eyes in the GHS cafeteria pleading with mine to say that “This is real,” teacher R.D. with his hand over his fist as the second plane hit; above all, teacher D.K.’s voice shattering as the towers fell, his hand slowly gripping his mouth as unbidden tears tumbled down his worn cheeks, only to say _”It’ll never be the same.”

Those memories will never die with me. If I ever have the blessing of grandchildren, I’ll tell them first that a great many brave and American men and women gave and risked their lives that for their sakes; that we didn’t know what was happening, and that father or grandfother or — at this age brother — would risk the ultimate sacrifice if that’s what it took to work.

I wonder though, how many years later would I tell them about Vietnam and the like — of Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon and Ford. How long to explain how something daddy and his friends and allies could die for something we didn’t do right? Something that, in the end, accomplished nothing at all?

Ten years later, we’re a decade out. Ten years. Billions and billions of dollars that could have been spent on education, infrastructure, healthcare; at least 150,000 innocent civilians, about 5,000 American soldiers, untold billions in damage to the already-fragile Iraqi economy… And. For. What.? Nothing. Nothing at all. We replaced a horribly repressive and authoritarian regime with a slightly less-repressive and slightly-less regime — which is not a bad thing — unless one considers the ease with which that entire regime could tumble into the sands.

I wore a black arm band protesting the war in high school and was shunned. There are still people who won’t speak to me on that account.

It’s okay. We don’t want to gloat. We want the wars to end today and for veterans to get the mental, physical, educational help they need.

We want a foreign policy that focuses on people, people ON THE GROUND DAMMIT be they American, Iraqi, Malay, Azeri, Pashtun et al.

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~ by Benji on 19 March 2013.

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