Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 24, 2013

Iraq: Ten years later

VALDOSTA — There was never a treaty ceremony like the one ending World War II aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Nor was there the desperate scramble for helicopters that accompanied the fall of Saigon in Vietnam.

Instead, the Iraq War ended with the quiet departure of American troops.

This past week marked the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War’s start, and though the war has ended, its effects continue being felt as close as South Georgia and around the world.

From the early days of “shock and awe” to the hunt for Saddam Hussein, American troops searched for the reported weapons of mass destruction that prompted the war. Hussein was eventually found and later executed, but no one ever discovered any WMD. These weapons appeared to be more rumor than reality.

After sweeping into Iraq and toppling Saddam’s regime in a matter of days, U.S. officials dismantled the Iraqi infrastructure, sending armed soldiers and police officers home with weapons but no direction.

American troops who were supposed to be greeted as liberators became soldiers caught in a crossfire of dominance in a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites grappling for control. What was supposed to be a step toward crushing terrorism became a breeding ground and rallying cry for terrorists in the war’s early years.

America’s mission in Iraq transformed into the ideal of establishing the groundwork for a democracy in the Middle East. Eventually, Iraq elected leaders, though the stability of this new government remains fragile and tumultuous as an al-Qaida attack killing more than 60 people in Baghdad proved this past week.

In the States, many people who once supported the war changed their minds, calling Iraq a mistake; however, the broad majority of Americans supported U.S. troops throughout the conflict.

While nearly 4,500 U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives, 32,000 U.S. military personnel were injured, hundreds of billions were spent on the war, and tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed and injured, it was a war which asked few if any sacrifices of most Americans.

Other than the courageous commitment of America’s military and their families, few other Americans can name how the war affected their lives.

But the lives of those who served and their loved ones will be affected for years to come as they now battle to find a place in a society that may appreciate their service but does not fully understand their sacrifice.

Only time will tell how the Iraq War will be viewed by history. Only time will tell if Iraq can stand on its own in the volatile Middle East.

The war may be one for the history books, but the chapters on the war’s consequences for Iraq, America and the world are still being written.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

  • Too many pinwheels

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.

    April 8, 2014

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results