War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Edwin Starr popularized those lyrics in 1970, with his #1 hit, “War,” and I whole-heartedly agree (in most cases) with that sentiment today. The American Revolutionary War, the United States’ involvement in World Wars 1 & 2, and the War in Afghanistan were all necessary wars for the U.S. to partake in. Our Nation’s independence, and retaliation against those who attack us, on American soil, are the most plausible reasons, for declaring war, and is worth the price of bloodshed and monetary costs to this country.
Some of our presidents have been a bit too eager, whether concluding on their own or being persuaded by those in their administration, to engage our military in warfare. Many of our wars, in hindsight, have been mistakes and others foreseeably misguided before they even began. Both of the Iraq Wars were certainly mistakes. I realize it may sound somewhat harsh, and a little insensitive, to say those who served in the U.S. Military, on active-duty in Iraq, were in no way fighting for our freedom, and their service to our country was for not, but that is the truth as I know it. I absolutely do not place any of the blame on our U.S. Soldiers because the men and women in uniform were simply carrying out their assigned orders.
Last week The McLaughlin Group listed several Iraq War statistics, from March ’03 – December ’11, and the figures were very sobering. The death toll of U.S. Soldiers was reported as 4,425 and an additional 31,947 was listed as wounded. The war also left 134,000 Iraqis (soldiers and civilians) dead. The cost of the most recent Iraq War, besides the bloodshed, was an astonishing $806 billion (for operations) and an extra $894 billion going towards Veteran care. Furthermore, there was the mind-boggling $9 billion listed as either lost or unaccounted for. How in the world can that be? The United States sure could use that money to put towards our national debt right about now. The $9 billion admittedly would only scratch our debt’s surface, but at least it could be put to some use instead of being listed as “missing.”
At the present time the Islamic State of Iraq, an extremist group, is attempting a takeover of the entire country of Iraq. Where is Saddam Hussein when you need him? I’m not joking. Yes, he was deplorable at times, but he never would have allowed a terrorist takeover on his watch. To revisit the Iraq War, with U.S. ground troops, would be foolish. So far, President Obama has stuck to his guns and has refrained from doing just that. I believe America elected him, in great part, for his promise to end our country’s involvement in wars. He has succeeded in that area, and I hope he continues to remain true to his word. Our wars overseas have proven to be disasters. Keeping the peace in Iraq can be somewhat sustainable, for a period of time, but never winnable, and that’s why the United States should mainly focus on the issues at hand in its own backyard.
The war currently being conducted in Ferguson, Missouri, between the city’s police department and protesters, is hardly worth mentioning, but since the situation is plastered all over our television screens I will offer my short common sense response to the subject at hand. We know a young man was shot, at least six times, and killed by a police officer. We also know the victim is suspected of being involved in a robbery, earlier in the day, in which he acted in an aggressive manner towards the convenience store’s clerk. We really don’t know much more than that at this time. We can only speculate if the dead young man was an actual thug or if he just resembled one on that particular day. Regardless, vandalizing and looting your fellow man’s property is a senseless act under any condition. Waging war, whether at home or abroad, should always be the last resort, and only after the indisputable facts are in. There must also be a clear and winnable, not just sustainable, objective in sight. Neither the Iraq War, nor the Ferguson fiasco meets that criteria.