by Sarah Willson
It’s hard to believe, but the United States troops have been consistently stationed in various parts of the Middle East for well over a decade now.
Approximately two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, former President George W. Bush addressed the nation, saying that he would send roughly 9,500 troops into Iraq in an attempt to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein, who supported terrorism and killed thousands of his own people. Although successful in the assassination, it took the U.S. nearly three years to accomplish Bush’s demand, ultimately killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process.
Along with this, the U.S. also defeated Iraqi troops, virtually leaving the country without a government or military.
Sooner than later, the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the now war-torn country took place, marking what President Bush claimed was an end to the war. Little did he know that it was only beginning.
After what the U.S. said was a miraculous defeat and an overwhelming victory for the American people, much of Iraq and its citizens were left broken. In fact, the country had almost been forgotten about in the eyes of westerners.
It is because of the abandonment by the U.S. troops in Iraq that the majority of the country today remains unstable and inhabited by extremists.
The desertion of Iraq, whether George W. Bush and other Americans are willing to admit it, created a feeding ground for terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, to develop and thrive.
Think of it this way: If military troops from halfway across the world came into the U.S., took out our entire military and then killed our president, we would be left in complete and total anarchy and chaos. This is exactly what the U.S. did to Iraq.
What the U.S. should have done after the Iraq War officially ended was continue to remain in the country in order to help rebuild its government and its people. Unfortunately, that never happened. Now, we need to clean up the mess we made.
Of course stationing troops in Iraq and other various parts of the Middle East is costly and potentially dangerous; however, the entire region has reached a point of no return and they need our help now more than ever if the country and its people are ever going to live in peace.
It is now also the responsibility of the U.S. to help mend the crisis in Syria, which has been ongoing for upwards of seven years now, as ISIS, a group that the U.S. ultimately fueled, is still continuing to carve out its sanctuary in the country.
I say these things not because I am an advocate for foreign intervention—the majority of the times, I’m not—but because our country needs to own up to our wrongdoings and help prevent thousands of more innocent people from dying.
Too many times I turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and witness the mass carnage taking place in the region, and cannot help but think that some of that carnage—much of it, in fact—is a product of the U.S.
Now, with the region’s power at an all-time high, it could be disastrous, and even deadly, for the U.S. to walk out on the innocent civilians who need us now more than ever.