|Questions linger after the end of Iraq war|
|Written by Brandon James Smith, Daily Vidette Features Editor|
|Monday, 13 September 2010 21:24|
On March 18, 2003, laser-guided missiles soared from U.S. fighter jets over Baghdad in an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein as well as other top officials of Iraq. The attempt failed, but regardless, a U.N. opposed assault on Hussein’s reign over the Middle Eastern country began.
In the days following the explosive assassination attempt (which was live on television), bombing began over Baghdad while U.S. and British troops marched from Kuwait, besieging several cities.
The war was only supposed to last a few weeks or perhaps a few months. However, it was not until Aug. 31, 2010 that “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was declared over.
“I’m happy to see troops being withdrawn. I feel like it’s time for Iraqis to be on their own and I know a lot of them feel the same way,” Michael Pudge, a senior political science and history major, said. “As a person that’s actually had friends over there and seen a lot of the bad things, it’s nice to know that not many more troops will die over there.”
In the past seven years nearly 4,500 United States’ soldiers have died. According to justforeignpolicy.org, there have been over 1.3 million Iraqi deaths caused by the 2003 invasion over the last seven years.
While the United States’ questionable involvement with Iraq has come to an end, so to speak, many people are unsure as to what is ending. According to President Obama, all combat operations are ending and the combat troops are coming home. However, armed soldiers in an unstable country will still remain there for at least a year and a half.
“I still don’t understand why we would have 50,000 soldiers remaining there. Even if the name they give it now is not combat troops … they are advisers or whatever it is … they are soldiers and 50,000 is still a large number,” Issam Nassar, professor of Middle Eastern history, said.
Nassar approves of the decision to end the war, but cannot help but question the timing of the announcement.
“Is this just changing of terminologies just to give us the feeling that it’s over while it’s going to be continued in some form or another? So I’m not clear because the president did not make it clear,” he said.
It appears Nassar is not the only one who feels perplexed by the whole situation. The truth is many people are unfamiliar with what has happened in Iraq and what is happening in Iraq.
“At this point it’s difficult to gauge whether it’s the right thing to pull out of Iraq given that it’s a potential breeding ground for their extremism. It’s really hard to tell whether it’s the right thing to do, if there is a right thing to do,” Warren Wise, a political science graduate student and teacher’s assistant, said.
From the former president, to the current president, to the media and to the American public, Wise contends we are all to blame for the lack of information that is reported.
“They don’t tell us because we don’t care,” Wise said when asked why the media has not better informed the public. “They’ll tell us if we buy papers with that as the headline. It’s pretty much been shown that people don’t care about the war … they’re not going to watch news reports where that’s the lead story and the media is made to make a profit.”
Nassar agrees to a certain extent with Wise and wonders why Obama’s announcement did not come earlier.
“Why announce at a time, when at least for most Americans, Iraq is no longer in the news. Not that [the war] is not important, but somehow we manage to forget a lot,” he said. “I think declarations like this and steps like this should have been taken from the beginning to distinguish this administration from the previous one.”
Nassar and Wise believe it is too early to tell whether “Operation Iraqi Freedom” will be viewed as a failure, but they do believe that all in all, the war in general was a mistake.
“We didn’t find any weapons or any connection to al Qaeda, which were pretty much the principal policy objectives to the war. So seeing how those concerns were unfounded, it’s safe to say it wasn’t a war worth going go,” Wise said.
“I thought when the war took place that it was poorly prepared…I did not support it from the beginning and I still do not support it,” Nassar added.
Even Pudge admitted he did not “know much about the inner-workings of the war.” However, he knows enough that he is ready for the troops to come home.
“I’m happy it’s ending. No more Americans have to die, that’s primarily what I’m concerned with,” he said.