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“What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing!”
“What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing!”
“War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” Singer Edwin Starr does not lie when he says that war is good for absolutely nothing. People can look back at history and be able to point out several gratuitous wars that were fought. Throughout the years, these wars were waged for noble causes such as freedom and independence from a totalitarian dictator, but others have been fought for the consumption of land and resources for the selfish advancement of one’s own country. War can easily be described in words such as deceit, tragedy, death, and destruction. Most wars amount to nothing but these words. This past March marks the fifth anniversary of one such war. Along with this war have emerged the American people’s distrust of the government and its politics and the ignorance of our elected officials. This war is none other than the Iraq War. While this war did in fact free the Iraqi people of Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical grip, it has also invoked countless other problems for both Iraqis and Americans. The United States led an unauthorized invasion of Iraq using the false sense of patriotism spread by government lies, and as a result of this deception, the U.S., Americans, and Iraqis everywhere are suffering heavy consequences. Because of the dishonesty of our federal government and the situation we are facing because of their mistakes, the United States should begin a process of disarmament in Iraq.
The Iraq War began in early 2003 when the United States decided that the country of Iraq was a threat to “international security”. President George W. Bush and his administration began making the false accusations of Iraq having secret caches of “weapons of mass destruction” and the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, having intimate relations with the terrorist group known as al Qaeda. Michael Aliprandini, another American who is opposed to the Iraq War, remarked that in order to calm the American public and the international community, the United Nations sent weapons inspectors to investigate various factories and warehouses for these so-called weapons of mass destruction (Aliprandini). Hussein permitted the inspection; however, he did not completely abide by the necessary guidelines for the inspections. David A. Deese, an author for the World Book Online Reference Center, commented that after weeks of thorough examinations, the weapons inspectors returned home with no evidence of the illegal weaponry (Deese). Alex Rich, an American who shares the same sentiment of opposition against the Iraq War, observed that even David Kay, the United States’ own weapons inspector, remarked that even though Saddam had tried to build weapons of mass destruction, he had been unsuccessful since 1991. Rich also mentioned that, “The facts and conclusions of the weapons inspections were twisted and manipulated to create justification for an unjustifiable invasion” (Rich). Although the destructive weapons and the connection of Saddam Hussein to the al Qaeda were never confirmed, the United States, along with Britain, Australia, Poland, and Denmark, formed the Coalition and invaded Iraq despite the lack of approval among the Security Council of the United Nations. The United States rallied the American people with these lies so that they would be in favor of the war against Iraq. Due to this deception, the American public began to analyze the war and look for the government’s true motives in Iraq. While it is true that the U.S. removed Saddam Hussein from power, they have used “manipulation of certain key words such as ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ to cloak other, less altruistic motives, including control of Iraq’s vast oil resources and protection of Israel” (Aliprandini). The blunt lies of the federal government has created even more suspicion and distrust among the American people for their elected officials and has resulted in an exponential growth of citizens opposed to the war in Iraq.
The federal government, American citizens, and even the Iraqi people are suffering a grueling toll because of the war. It has been proven throughout history that a war is very expensive both monetarily and socially. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent financing a war, and hundreds of thousands of lives are required to fight and die for that war. As of now, the United States has already expended an excess of three hundred billion dollars on this war and continues to spend more than two hundred million dollars per day (Aliprandini). President Bush also endorsed an expenses bill in May of 2007 that supplied ninety-five billion dollars to the war effort that was “expected” to last until September of 2007 (Rich). Taking these staggering numbers into consideration, examine the current state of our country’s economy. Our great nation is on the verge of a major recession, and the Iraq War is only contributing to our failure. If President Bush were to pull out of Iraq, America could use the billions of dollars to solve our economic problems and begin a recovery. Prices would eventually begin to fall, resulting in Americans re-establishing their faith in the government and economy. Not only is money needed to fight a war, but soldiers are needed as well. It is the cost of a human’s life that makes war so tragic. Since the initial invasion in 2003, more than 3,000 coalition troops have lost their lives and another 20,000 have been wounded, most of who are American (Aliprandini). Soldiers are not the only ones who are meeting their untimely end. The war has also led to the dreadful death of several “civilians, including journalists, business people, and aid workers” in Iraq (Deese). If the President would retreat from Iraq, America would not have to suffer the loss of another good citizen and neither would Iraq. We would finally be able to ban together as a nation and solve our country’s current problems rather than repair a broken nation.
The social unrest that is in Iraq today is not due to any corrupted ruler; however, the disorder is cause by the United States and the civil chaos between Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Ever since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the United States has remained stationed in Iraq to impose our style of Western government onto the Iraqi people. Our democratic form of government is not adequate for the Iraqi people “unless Iraqis actually want a government modeled on the American democracy, they cannot be expected to create or accept such a government” (Rich). Our country’s arrogant pride is fueling the terrorists in their suicide bombings. The violence in Iraq has escalated due to the civil conflict between the two Muslim groups known as the Shiites and the Sunnis. These two groups have a strong opposition of each other’s religious beliefs over “who is the legitimate successor to the Prophet Mohammad” (Aliprandini). According to the private researcher Joe Paskewich, the Sunni Muslims believe in holding an election in which Muslim leaders and elders choose the next leader for Islam, while the Shiites believe that the direct descendents of Muhammad’s cousin Ali are the rightful rulers of Islam (Paskewich). During Hussein’s reign, Sunni Muslims held utter dominance over all other ethnic groups in Iraq, even though Shiites held the majority in Iraq (Aliprandini). It is not the United States’ responsibility to ensure that the Iraqis have a democratic government; however, it should be the Iraqis’ decision on which form of government they would like. Although America did help many Iraqis gain suffrage, it is not our job to form their government in the image of ours.
The time has come for the United States to worry about its own problems rather than the troubles of another country. The Iraq War has been at a temporary stalemate for three years now. Although the war has partially improved the lives of some Iraqi people, the suffering of both Americans and Iraqis tremendously outweigh the good that has come out of the war. The United States intends on staying the course of the war; however, this is actually one of the most foolish tactics. Both Iraqis and Americans are yearning for the military to withdraw so that both countries may begin a recovery. It is time for America to begin disarmament in Iraq so that we can address our own nation’s problems while Iraq can direct its own advancement.
Aliprandini, Michael. "Iraq: An Overview." Points of View: Iraq (2007): 1. Points of View Reference Center. EBSCO. Avoyelles High School, Moreauville, LA. 20 Apr. 2008
Deese, David A. "Iraq War." World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. Avoyelles High School. 21 April 2008
Paskewich, Joe. “Sunni & Shiite: What’s the Difference?” Typepad. 2006. Avoyelles High School, Moreauville, LA. 5 May 2008.
Rich, Alex. "Point: Iraq is a Broken Country." Points of View: Iraq (2007): 2. Points of View Reference Center. EBSCO. Avoyelles High School, Moreauville, LA. 20 Apr. 2008