How does this Soldier feel about our Withdrawal from Iraq?
Recently someone asked me how I felt about the United States withdrawing from Iraq. I wasn’t really sure how to respond. I guess I really hadn’t thought much about it. For me Iraq has been an afterthought for many years. My focus, much like the Army, has been on Afghanistan. Since I’ve spent plenty of time in Iraq, I suppose I should have an opinion on this topic, so here goes.
As a professional soldier, my charter isn’t to debate the merit of our nation’s war. I’m simply a cog in the wheel of a high speed locomotive. That locomotive, the United States Army, has a clear mission: to fight and win America’s wars. Period.
When the government says we are done, then we are done, regardless of what our military leadership believes. The military does what the civilians who run the Army direct. Our Commander in Chief is the President of the United States.
This is why you generally don’t see active duty service members publicly voicing their opinion on what our government should or shouldn’t be doing. You should never see an active duty service member publicly lambasting the President or his policies. Heck, we could get court martialed for this.
But to answer the original question: I feel relieved.
For two reasons:
- I’m relieved that we won’t lose anymore service members in that alien country for reasons I have yet to rationalize in my head.
- I’m relieved the crazy nightmare of a deployment schedule our Army has been enduring will ease. Believe me: our Soldiers need some relief.
Some may see this as a narrow view of this historic event. That’s OK with me. We’ve all lived with our nation fighting two simultaneous wars for the past eight years. But these wars have consumed my family’s life and those of my closest friends since I crossed into Iraq on the first evening of the ground war in 2003.
Will Iran influence Iraq? Will Iraq erupt into civil war? Can Iraq sustain the western democratic government we emplaced? Will the Iraq security forces be able to secure the country and its borders? Will we be able to influence Iraq in the future?
I don’t know. In fact no one does. Only time will tell. But for now I breathe easier knowing I won’t lose any more of my brothers and sisters in that country.
According to the Defense Department, 4,487 service members were killed in the Iraq war. More than 30,000 were wounded.
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