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America takes pride in its military and ability to terminate any threat to the American people and its’s Homeland. America may be able to fight all the other foreign super-powers of the world, but The War on Terrorism seems to have no end near. There’s not a single group nor person that can be killed that will put an end to all the extremist groups. The success of the war should be determined from how appropriate a nation’s actions are. America declared the War on Terrorism after a major act of terrorism, tensions were at an all-time high after the attack and the government wanted to provide extra reassurance to the American people. If the success of the war in Iraq are measured by the deeds and consequences of the nation then, the United States was unsuccessful because of the support fueled by the American fear after 9/11, falsification of military force, and unheeded impact left on families. A major component of war is how much the citizens of your nation are aiding your military. The people are the “rock” of the country, specifically the citizens and the politicians. The citizens are the people and politicians are the heard voice of the people elected by the people. While a war can take place without the general public’s consent, having the public’s consent makes the process much smoother considering the roles politicians play, making major decisions.
During and after the Vietnam war the American people were very anti-war, having seen the acts of violence that take place during war. The 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers is a moment that changed history forever and is still shaping history to this day. The 9/11 attacks fueled American support and biases, turning people that once had anti-war mindsets to mindsets of anti-Islam, driven to end terrorism. The part that makes this situation so complicated is the fact that Arabs, Muslims, and terrorist are being viewed as one. Adrien Katherine Wing said in her journal, “those who merely look like Arabs or Muslims may be racially profiled on that basis as well. The double group can thus be considered larger than the number of actual students”. She then proceeds explain the stats of race in America and how after the 9/11 on America, those with darker skin were at a higher risk for being presumed as Arab or Muslim. America was much more vigilant after seeing how easily they were attacked once, but being cautious in your home country is not comparable to completely destroying another. The fears that Americans held so tight powered by a war that America was not ready for and forced to enter without strategic planning. These factors are generally not a good combination for winning a war.
There’s a saying that goes, “All is great in love and war.” War is only great when you win gloriously, something so strived for that the actions taken to win are often neglected or concealed. Displeasure in previous war strategies made the media’s interpretation of the war important enough where it would influence America’s desire to be seen as just, in the eyes of the American people. The media initially manipulated Americans to be in the war with an anti-Muslimism mindset, but then it became the source of information as to what was happening in Iraq. Jenna Pitchford said,
Despite the use of advanced military technology in the recent Iraq conflict, the guerilla style of warfare and advances in communication technology render any claim of the Iraq war as a cyberwar deeply problematic. Few cyborg soldiers remained in the combat zone, and for most soldiers in this conflict the Iraqi people were not pixelated targets on a video screen, but real people who could communicate with those in the west via the Internet before images of events had even made it as far as the television screen.
Pitchford accusations claim that America attempted to maintain themselves as being in a “bodiless war” where they only used excessive force when need be, yet in Iraq there’re more casualties than depicted. The United States was trying to maintain a hero-like image, as if their presence on foreign soil was required. When in fact, they may have been intruding on the land just to be at war. A successful war does not need to be perfect, but instead must be rooted in truthfulness.
Americans doubted the number of troops that were being sent into Iraq. Some critics voiced their opinions about their desire for more troops, but did not stop to ponder what sending more troops would come with. Being ill-advised put Americans at a defining moment with how to decipher the conflict. Since the media made the citizens feel like they should be threatened by terrorist attacks and their country should be overseas fighting said terrorists, it could make it easy to feel a sense of false guidance. In Victor Davis’s journal article about the troops stationed in Iraq, he said
Worried about inflicting excessive damage on a tottering enemy in front of worldwide television audience, we employed nonexplosive GPS bombs, passed over units of the Republican Guard, and avoided hitting infrastructure. Such magnanimity and caution in midst of a deadly conflict, while admirable and understandable, may in hindsight have sent the wrong message.
Davis is stating that America’s military was too wary of how/what was being done in Iraq and was being perceived by the people from what the media shows them. How could there not be enough force with the number of the bodies are piling up? Someone opting for more injury and damage instigated is not fighting for the true cause of justice. Fear of terrorism had already been implanted in the Americans mindset, yet on the warfront, America inspired policies fueled by animosity. America gave breathing room for more attacks. These failures should have been a sign that something needs to change in the style of combat and presence of American Soldiers.
An easily overlooked phenomenon is PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms for PTSD are nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood. This is not limited to trauma from war but is very prevalent in soldiers that are returning home from war. PTSD can sometimes be perceived as a non-factor in success of a war in a comparison to worrying about support for the war or the shortcomings of combat, but the impact left on the soldiers’ families is immense. A countries true success should be seeing that their citizens needs are met, not that all feared threats have been eliminated. Gabriela Mica states in her article, “The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in samples of United States military service members and veterans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan has recently been estimated to be as high as 23%. A statistic deemed unusual is normally around 5% and sometimes even 10%, so 23%, excluded those who go undiagnosed, is a very high percent. America should take a moment to think about the military they are sending home after the war.
The deployment of soldiers to Iraq undeniably left some families with a missing piece. Families are the jigsaw pieces that bring America together, much like family members bring together the image of a family. When America sends home a soldier with PTSD, the families are the ones left to pick up the pieces. The film The American Sniper, looks into the life of famous Navy sniper Chris Kyle. In the movie you can watch as the war changes Chris, his kill rate goes through the roof almost as fast as his PTSD. The sniper shown in the movie does not only speak for the true story aligning with the plot, but every other man and woman who was stationed in Iraq. Kyle is idolized by many for his abilities and kill rate, yet the only person to consider what the war was doing to his mental health was his wife. Soldiers need to know that their mental health is important, the right precautions must be taken to protect their sanity. A country should value mental health over potential gains. The transition from everyday military activity back to civilian life is not an easy adjustment and if America wants to achieve success it must put in more effort.
In a war that was amped up out of fear, misrepresented to the people, and damaging to the mental health of those who served, there is no victory. America entered Iraq and Afghanistan with goals to end terrorism and bring peace. About 17 years after 9/11 America has still been the target of numerous terrorist attacks, as well as killed many terrorists, but terrorism still prevails. The war in Iraq was not designed to be a war that could be won instead of just and opportunity for involvement. When a terrorist attacks America they attack out of hate, so America has to be very cautious in the way they respond. War should be planned in a way that maximizes well being with, no hate-fueled propaganda, better services for soldiers with PTSD, and overall less casualties. A successful country cares for its citizens and how they are impacted. The day the United States introduces these things and follows them through is the day America’s wars will be successful.
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