The end of the war, what war?
The last few days have seen the pronouncement of the end of the Iraq War, and my question is what war? Now, in that question I do not intend any disrespect for the soldiers who fought, bled and died in Iraq and who still do the same in Afghanistan. Those brave men and women did what they were ordered to do and did it bravely. Many of them have or are returning home without limbs, in coffins, with post-traumatic stress related disorders, concussion disorders, without jobs and often to home front families who are struggling to keep things together. It seems a raw deal to the military and their families to pay such an incredibly high price for this “war,” while the rest of us go on like nothing is happening.
Recently I listened to podcast from Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History audio blog, the post was entitled Old School Toughness, and it asked a fundamental question could we beat our grandparent’s generation in a war? In that post he talked about the point I want to make today, we didn’t fight a war in Iraq. I put forward that the military and their families fought a war not the rest of us. In World War II, the last time our society fought a war everyone knew we were at war. Our country melted down everything it could lay its collective hands on to produce raw materials for the American War Machine. Rationing was a reality for everyone; the levels of casualties experienced would stagger Americans who today are shocked by a dozen deaths. In World War II a dozen deaths wouldn’t make the news, God help us should we ever see the types of casualty numbers that the Russian people suffered through in that war.
Because we don’t know what war is really like, I don’t believe we appropriately appreciate the sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make. Even more importantly it leaves us a country too willing to enter into combat because it doesn’t impact most of us personally; this makes us a dangerous country. I hear too many people say screw Iran, let’s just invade them; war has become a video game to America. What happens when one of these little wars triggers a much bigger cataclysm? I’ll tell you, World War III, then America will know what real war is like again.
Finally, it’s because of the lack of real war that you hear no cheers in the street today; there will be no iconic image of a sailor kissing a girl in the street. There will just be montages on the news of little kids welcoming home moms and dads who have been gone to long, wake up America.