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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The war in Iraq is wrong and should be opposed

I do not support this war in Iraq. I don’t like that we invaded almost unilaterally, with the majority of the planet opposing us from the beginning. I don’t like the fact that the war is based on lies. I don’t like that I am portrayed as unpatriotic for not supporting the war. I don’t like that we have been in Iraq for over three years now. I don’t like 0that Bush is planning on leaving the exit strategy to future presidents. I don’t like that 65% of our nation disapproves of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, that 72% of the troops in Iraq think it’s time to leave, and that the administration won’t listen to either group. Some democracy. I do try to support our troops. I’m doing my best. On the whole, I oppose the military, but when I think about each individual who is in Iraq right now, I try to support our troops. It’s getting harder to do, though. I read about the torture committed by the 82nd Airborne. I read about a 9-year-old Iraqi girl watching as U.S. troops enter her house, kill her grandparents, and shoot at her and her 8-year-old brother as other adults try to shield them. I read about these marines entering another house and shooting the owner, as well as his wife, his sister, his three daughters, and his 2-year-old son. I read about the bodies showing evidence of close range shots to the chest and head. I read about all the things that happen in the prisons in Iraq. I read about claims by Iraqi police that U.S. troops shot 11 people in their home, including five children, all in the head. I’m struggling to support our troops, but all of this is causing me to grow in my conviction that this war was a bad decision, and a poorly executed one at that. In reality, it’s not necessarily entirely the fault of the soldiers. Our troops have been lied to and put into a terrible situation. A poll conducted by Zogby International revealed that 85% of our troops believe we are in Iraq to retaliate against Saddam Hussein for his role in the 9/11 attacks (fact: there is no evidence whatsoever of Saddam Hussein having any role at all in the planning or execution of the 9/11 attacks). Most of the aforementioned atrocities occurred after our troops dealt with one of those terrible situations that comes with the territory of war. The marines who killed 15 Iraqi civilians did so immediately after an improvised explosive device struck their humvee, killing the driver. The stress and emotion caused by this incident is coupled with everything else the marines have had to deal with. Maybe they snapped. Maybe they were just put in a terrible situation, and couldn’t deal with it. The military trains our troops to kill, kill, kill, and that’s what these marines did. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means excusing the behavior of our troops, but I have faith that before they left for Iraq, they were all reasonable people. I don’t believe that any of the soldiers who have done these terrible things would do them in an everyday situation here in America. I believe only a psychopath would want to murder or torture an innocent human being. I do not believe our military is made up of psychopaths. Listen: this is a fraction of the cost of war. At the very least, 34,000 Iraqis have been killed in this war. There have been over 2,500 coalition deaths, more than 2,300 of which were Americans. That gives us over 36,500 deaths total (to say nothing of the over 20,000 U.S. troops and unfathomable number of Iraqis who have been wounded). 36,500 people doesn’t seem like a whole lot at first glance. We’re all used to dealing with millions and billions, and even trillions now. Let me put this number in perspective for you, though. 36,500 is a tough number to comprehend. It’s more than ten times as many people killed in the 9/11 attacks, the worst terrorist attack in history not committed by the United States itself. A day isn’t tough to comprehend, though. We all know what a day is. There are 7 of them in a week, and 365 of them in a year. A year is a long time. The average American is supposed to live 75 of them. Now let’s say I choose to remember the life of one person who has been killed in this dreadful war each day. We can all understand one person. My grandfather was one person, and my grandmother was one person, too. One person can hurt, a lot. That said, if I were to remember the life of just one person every day, I would have to live for 100 more years to remember each and every one of the human beings killed in the war so far. Another cost of war is the money. We’ve spent over a quarter of a trillion dollars on this war. A quarter of a trillion is an unfathomable amount, so let me try and put it this way. If I were to get one dollar every second (that’s $3600 an hour), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take me more than eight thousand years to be able to afford the war in Iraq. And we’ve spent all that money in barely over 3 years. According to costofwar.com, we could have globally funded world hunger efforts for 11 years instead. Or we could have given more than 13 million students four-year scholarships at public universities. $270 billion is a lot of money. All of this says nothing of all of the veterans who can’t sleep at night, who can’t deal with life back in the states, who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of this says nothing of the terrible living conditions we’ve inflicted on Iraqis. They only have electricity for a sma ll fraction of every day. They are in constant danger. We have destroyed normalcy in Iraq. War is not the answer to our problems. War is wrong. Two wrongs never make a right. Opposing this war is not unpatriotic, and I don’t care what anybody else tells you. Opposing this war is moral, opposing this war is human, opposing this war is pro-life, and opposing this war is doing what is in the best interests of everyone, including our troops.

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