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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Opposing Viewpoints: President Obama deserves credit for finally ending this unnecessary war

By BRIAN AURICCHIO
Political Columnist

Congratulations America, the war in Iraq has come to its final chapter. Before I give congratulations where it is due, does anyone else recall this war ending already? My memory is jaded, but I remember former President George Bush speaking the similar words of “mission accomplished.”

If we are finally handing sovereignty over to the Iraqi people, then what were those Iraqi elections in March for?

President Obama once called this a “dumb war,” but when a politician declares an end to this military conflict, please excuse those who indulge in their own cynicism. It is prudent to withdraw our forces, but let us hope Obama is actually “turning the page.”

This conflict began on March 19, 2003, with President Bush launching the invasion. On March 30, 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told “ABC This Week” that our government knew the locations of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

A year later, the searches for these weapons were pronounced over, with none found.

As U.S. casualties heightened, Bush continued to reassure the public of our pride in victory stating, “We’re not leaving Iraq so long as I’m president.”

Ironically, Bush said the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11 on that same day. According to the London Times, by November 2006, there were 150,000 civilian deaths in Iraq.

Civil war was looming over the Iraqi people and animosity began to grow towards America’s presence: chaos and instability were inevitable.

According to ABC News in 2007, 70 percent of Iraqi’s claimed American escalation had worsened their lives.

It just seemed like America was not prepared for this invasion.

According to Congressman John Murtha (PA-12), military recruitment has fallen, our equipment needs to be replaced, defense budgets are being cut, and our deficit has grown out of control—particularly with the cost of healthcare and social security.

We do not have the resources to fight this war, and the Bush tax cuts have not helped balance the budget.

“The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden,” Murtha stated in a 2005 press release

This nation’s military-industrial complex has taken a firm hold of our market. Obama’s plan to leave Iraq is a noble idea, but seems more of a political move than a plan of action.

It is particularly interesting the ‘end’ of this war has come so close to November, when the Democrats find themselves in danger of losing their powerful majority in both houses.

There will be major withdrawals from the nation, but it is important to remember 50,000 troops will be left in Iraq, maintaining a long-term military presence. Our troops have become the target of the insurgency, maybe even the reason for it.

U.S. forces toppled Hussein’s regime, a victory for Americans and the Iraqi people. It is time to bring the troops home.

Obama claims the problems that face Iraq are now their own responsibility. Environmental degradation, displacement of its people, sanitary drinking water, unemployment and the threat of Islamic militia retaliating are now the concerns of the Iraqi government.

We have been “redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Force and support its government and people,” said Obama in his address.

While the Iraqi people deal with the burden of their issues, it is time for America to once again focus on Al-Qaeda.

As we shift our efforts towards Afghanistan, America can finally ensure that justice will be served to those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, instead of continuing to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq.

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