After 9/11, there was a united call to bring those responsible for the largest attack on U.S. soil to justice, and rightfully so. Thousands of patriotic Americans enlisted in the military in the days and weeks that followed. Congress authorized the military to pursue those responsible through a congressional authorization for military force. Amid growing distrust of Saddam Hussein in circles within our own government, we sent our armed forces to depose his dictatorial regime. But what began out of a reaction to being attacked morphed into something else entirely. A search for justice became occupation. Justified revenge turned into nation building. Instead of something that was limited, with a finite and definable goal, war became something amorphous and persistent. Gradually, the people became weary with a concept of war that would never end.
On December 18, 2011, President Obama made waves by withdrawing the last remaining combat troops from Iraq. While it may have looked and sounded good on paper, though, over 17,000 "diplomatic personnel" remained
in Iraq at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, in addition to some 5,000 defense contractors. And that's not including the thousands of troops who have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2001. This coming October, U.S. forces will have been in Afghanistan for 12 years. Meanwhile, certain members of Congress, like John McCain, are calling for U.S. forces to be deployed to Syria
. President Obama sent air strikes and support for Libyan rebels who were tied to Al Qaeda, and helped depose Musharraf in Egypt, only to find out later that the rebels there were supported by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Issues such as blowback aside, another war is the absolute last thing our country needs. Our nation's military is stretched so thin around the world in places that do not want us there, that if our country is actually attacked, we would be left defenseless. Too often, we don't even know who the real enemy is. We fund one side of a war because the entity in power is corrupt, only to find out later that ones we were funding are actually worse. And while we have our backyard barbecues, military families across our nation are mourning because their loved ones died fighting a war where we can't even tell if we're on the right side.
It is too easy to start a war for political expediency. It makes you appear "tough". Often, it's good politics. But the only people that are tough are the military men and women who are being sacrificed as pawns in a political game, through wars that never end and cannot be won.
This Memorial Day, let's remember our fallen heroes, and stop the madness. It's time to come home.