Sharm has asked me to put up a post regarding my feelings (as an American) on war: the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, the War on Terror…I guess all of it. Let me be clear here, I’m a Canadian living in the United States. My husband is American, my father is American, but I am not, so I don’t know that I can speak for all of the people in the United States on this topic, but I’ll try.
To put it bluntly, war sucks. War is stupid, and I wish we never had to go to war for any reason. When 9-11 happened, I was on the air, doing my job on the radio. It was horrible. It was more horrible to watch people in other countries celebrating the deaths of so many civilians, cheering when the World Trade Center towers fell. I went home and cried for the rest of the day, knowing that things were going to change.
Now, I’m not going to get into all of the conspiracy theories floating around out there about who was responsible for that act of terror. Al Quaeda took responsibility for it, and I’m inclined to believe them. It’s an Occam’s Razor kind of thing (click on the link for more info on that). Suffice it to say, a lot of people were angry that day. And when something bad happens, your first reaction is to punish someone for it. I understood why the US chose to go to Afghanistan and try to find Osama Bin Laden. I don’t understand why we went to Iraq, and I never will. The invasion was based on faulty intelligence, and perhaps a need for the current government to prove to the American people that they were taking this “War on Terror” thing seriously and were doing something. I didn’t agree with the invasion then, and I don’t now. Many Americans don’t. But we also don’t hate the troops who were sent over there, either. I can not hate a man who is doing what he is told is his duty to his country.
I’ll never be able to convince many of you that there are things about the United States worthy of admiration. We’re generally good people. We have families, some of us are God-fearing, we go to work, we fall in love, we live our lives just like you do. Most of us don’t have a personal grudge against other people in this world. Yeah, there are idiots who do. Idiots who use their faith to justify their hate, but I’d wager there’s quite a few of those floating around this world, not just in the United States.
I think the best thing about the United States is that even though we don’t always agree, we’re always free to do just that. With few exceptions, we are free to hold an opinion contrary to whatever the accepted line coming out of the government is. If any of you have paid attention to our newscasts, you’ll know that most Americans seem disillusioned with the war in Iraq. We’re not sure why we’re there, we’re not sure exactly what we’re fighting for anymore, but we believe we have a duty to fix what we’ve broken.
Very few of us like seeing civilians killed. War, is unfortunately, all about that, though. I can’t help but chuckle bitterly when I see people who justify blowing up a marketplace and killing children in the name of their cause, but at the same time denounce a military who also kill civilians in the midst of fighting back. It’s a no-win situation. And I fear that neither side will put down their weapons, be they bomb belts or guns, until there’s no one left on either side to hold a weapon.