“The Tide of War Is Receding.” Thank you, President Obama.

26 Oct

“After a decade of war, the nation that we need to build – the nation that we will build – is our own.”

Today marks ten years since the USA Patriot Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush.  That act, titled fully Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, was a marker in the beginning of America’s severe uptick in violence and serious reduction of civil liberties in the new century.

I am pleased and not without some disbelief over last week’s news from President Obama that the U.S. would in fact fulfill its promise to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.  Over a million U.S. troops have served in this war.  I’m grateful to the President for demonstrating the necessary leadership to end the war in Iraq.  I doubt Cain, Romney, Bachmann, Perry or any of the other Republican candidates (save for Huntsman, maybe)  would have the fortitude to make this decision.  War is hardest on women and children, and the conflicts abroad that the U.S. instigated or elevated have hurt thousands here and in the Middle East.

President Obama’s first 2 1/2 years in office have not been without failures, but I think it is important to recognize when this administration is doing good work.

President Obama Announces Full Troop Withdrawal from Iraq on October 21. Image via http://www.upi.com.

Iraq, war-ravaged beyond belief, will now belong solely to its own people and their government.  What does that mean for a country that’s had a near-colonial relationship with Iraq – u.s.?  I, for one, strongly believe that we should take responsibility for and be honest about the harms we have caused the Iraqi people.

I’ve been fortunate not to have been personally affected by these wars, so far.  But I know that’s not true for my friends who have siblings, parents, friends overseas.  And I know my cousin plans to enlist next year.  Maybe now, that can be a slightly less terrifying thought.

Misguided at best, a debasement of the trust and taxes of the U.S. people at worst, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a constant hum under which I’ve come of age.

It will be curious to see what this nation will be like without them.

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