About time Iraqi combat stopped, but will peace prevail?

September 16, 2010 — by Guilia Curcelli

For over seven years, the United States deployed troops into Iraq. After the country’s reasons for the invasion turned out to be false—Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein turned out to not be linked to al-Qaeda—the United States has struggled to justify its occupation. Years later, the war has left a lasting impact on both countries.

On Aug. 31, President Obama announced the end of the combat mission in Iraq, a highly anticipated decision welcomed by many. Thousands of lives have been lost in a war wrongly begun by former President George W. Bush. The death and destruction in America and Iraq will never be forgotten, but ultimately time will determine what the legacy of the Iraq War will be.

If Iraq manages to maintain the democratic republic U.S. forces helped establish, perhaps American interference could end up being beneficial. However, the outlook seems grim—feuding between the opposing parties in Iraq will most likely lead to the collapse of their new government. According to the precedents set in history, there is a high probability of a civil war, leading to the country’s downfall and likely return to a dictatorship.

As Obama declared the end of the combat mission in Iraq, he emphasized the sacrifice many Americans have made for the war and the country. Although his speech was commendable, no speech could have done justice to the thousands of American and Iraqi lives lost in this war. Obama also stated that America has more important priorities to focus on, such as our economy and the war against al-Qaeda elsewhere. Although it may have seemed insensitive to some, his statements are true. If we do not make mending our own country our first priority, we will never be able to help others. America made a mistake entering Iraq and it is now time to move on. We have wasted enough of our time.

To prevent this disastrous situation from recurring, we must always be sure that our reasons for fighting are legitimate and verifiable. If we ever find ourselves in the same situation, we should accept our mistake and get out as soon as possible before causing damage to our own country.

We have held the hands of the Iraqis long enough. If they are ever going to function on their own, they must start now. We have given the Iraqi people a chance to reform their country by ridding it of its dictator and building a new government.

Now that the future of Iraq is in its own people’s hands, it will be up to them to decide how this war is remembered. If Iraq can maintain its new government, the war could be seen as a success. However, if they revert back to old ways, the war will be remembered only for the death and damage it caused.

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