Iraq war continues despite Senate committee report

Over five years ago, 2,973 people were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On Sept. 3, the number of U.S. military service members killed in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom reached 2,974. With the war in Iraq in its third year, 2684 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and at least 20,113 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in Iraq. These figures are important because a recently declassified Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that Saddam Hussein not only had no link to 9/11 (this was already known), but that he distrusted al-Qaeda and even tried to have the infamous Abu Musab al-Zarqawi arrested. The report’s conclusions run counter to statements made by the Bush administration who claimed that Saddam was an ally of al-Qaeda and even had links to the 9/11 hijackers. Bush stated in 2003 that “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001.” Bush has also claimed that the U.S. knew Hussein harbored Zarqawi. Vice President Cheney made many statements linking Iraq and 9/11. Cheney has called Iraq the “geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” The report, on the other hand, stated that Hussein “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.” The general consensus among students at Ames High is that U.S. forces cannot withdraw from Iraq at this point in time. “I don’t really like the Iraq war, I don’t believe in it. But I think it’s too late to pull out, we’ve already committed,” senior Ben Leung said. Junior Daniel Alexander is more opposed to the war. “I disagreed with going into Iraq in the first place, and now it just seems to be getting worse and worse,” Alexander said. “We need to pull out, but we can’t right now. I think we need to start a timetable and start making preparations to withdraw.” Junior Nathan Davis believes that the United States needs to stand behind the decision of its commander in chief. “Whether or not we should be there, we made the decision as a country. If we are separated in the decision we made, and if we don’t stand by the decision that was made, we can’t accomplish anything,” Davis said. “I also think that if we pulled out now, it would disgrace the people who have died without finishing it.” By the end of 2001, an estimated 3,500 Afghani civilians had been killed by U.S. bombs dropped after Sept. 11. Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began, between 43,154 and 47,931 Iraqi civilians have been killed.