Do you remember watching CNN that night? The night vision skyline of Baghdad with bright flashes in the distance? Remember the pipedream of being greeted as liberators? Remember the WMD’s? Not many people do, and to be fair, they’ve had six long years to let them slip from memory.
What do we have to show for our six years? Where has the estimated 1.2 trillion dollars gone? Even worse, the 4000 lives of American soldiers? What do we have to show for six years of turmoil as a divided country? What do we have to show for the heartache of mothers and fathers? What about the manipulated patriotism of the American people? The loss of faith in government?
After six years, Iraq is relatively the same as before we entered. We traded a hostile dictator for an unstable country without a functioning government. We traded $1.25 gas prices for a growing national debt. We gave up a unified America for a more divided country than ever before.
The more telling tale is the dichotomy of what we could have spent 1.2 trillion dollars on compared to what it was wasted on. With that money, the federal government could have sent every high school student in America to college for 4 years. Imagine what a fully educated society could do in the modern world’s economy! Imagine its impact on crime, teen pregnancy, and drug use! We could have relieved 100% of America’s current credit card debt. The government could have increased the federal budget for cancer research from $100 million to $1 trillion. Its not outside the realm of possibility to think that a ten fold budget could have cured cancer. Social Security could have been insured for the next 120 years and 17 million homes could have been built for the homeless.
Are these worthwhile tradoffs for a man’s revenge against his father’s enemy? Were they acceptable trades for one man’s lust for wealth? Americans deserve a better America, rather than one deluded by its manipulative government. They deserve an America free of lies and eavesdropping on their phone calls. They deserve an America where the equality of opportunity is ensured. The patriots I know deserve a better America than what exists.
I find it hard to justify unneeded foreign wars until we’ve secured our domestic future. We can pursue democracy and equality abroad once we’ve secured social security for the coming generations, ensured health care for all American citizens, worked to eliminate the effects of racism, and ensure the equality of opportunity for every American.