President Obama finally gave his speech stating that all American troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2012. It has been nine years since we first stepped foot on the “Fertile Crescent” (at least since the start of the war) and it is about time that our troops come home. I spent plenty of time over there. I watched some of my fellow combatants lose their sight, their limbs and their lives. Military advisers and contractors will stay but the United States military will come back home- finally. The question everyone wants to know though, was it worth it?
The problem with most people is that they just look at body counts as numbers. Yes, that is what they are I suppose but they are so much more than that- someone’s son or daughter. I hate to quote a dictator but he did say it best, “A single death is a tragedy while a million is just a statistic”. It is amazing how many Americans died in Iraq, whether it was due to poor training or just throwing inexperienced soldiers into a firefight with people who had dozens of years on their land.
Don’t get me started on the price tag of the war either. $750 billion dollars or so the last time I checked. Americans have lost their fathers, their sons, their daughters, husbands, wives… you get the picture. Tens of thousands more are suffering from “PTSD” symptoms or something close to it or worse. Was it worth it?
I am nowhere near qualified to speak for everyone or for history even though I have a Master’s in United States History and a Bachelor’s in Journalism in addition to serving plenty of years in the U.S. Army. I will tell you that not a single hour goes by that I do not wonder about all the experiences I had and the people I met in my time in the military. I am not talking out of my “fifth point of contact” here. I am dead serious and you guys know I am. All of us soldiers wonder if we had to enlist. Did I have to raise my hand every time something was asked of our BN? No, but I did. I made my own bed and I am sleeping on it right now.
A day after my 18th birthday, I went into the Army as a proud and eager young man. I did everything I could to make my superiors proud and I never stopped. I wanted to serve America like every soldier did before me. I wanted to make a difference, a real one… at any cost.
The question we have to ask ourselves is if we did not go over to Iraq, what would’ve happened? Would we have gotten attacked again? What other kinds of attacks would have came? Soldiers know what is expected of them and we would have done anything to protect the country. We would have went over there or any other country and we would have been happy to fight them right here in America. We chose to do it over there in Iraq and we tore them a new one. Did we take losses? Of course we did, every war will have its losses. And that is something you have to admire about every one of the soldiers in the US military. So, was it worth it? You are damn right it was.