I am going to start this piece by saying I was a huge proponent of the War on Terror. Not only did I support it, I volunteered to reenlist with my local guard unit. Unfortunately, I was turned down, and to this day, feel as though someone went in my place. Possibly someone who joined the National Guard for the education benefits, only to find himself in massive sandbox with people wanting to blow him to bits.
But still the grind continues. It has been over a decade, and young men and woman are still being shipped overseas to face the possibility of being maimed or killed by people who don’t want us there. We handed a free Iraq over to them, but it’s not likely to stay that way. While Afghanistan still claims the lives of US soldiers every month.
911 was a tragedy that claimed almost three thousand lives. These lives were innocent, people who were just going about their lives. Their only crime was living or working in a country hated by fanatic religious zealots. These people were fathers, mothers, someone’s children, and they were all taken from their families without warning.
We all face the chance of an untimely death, but rare are the times in human history were the deaths are on such a grand scale. And never in American history was the death toll completely civilian.
Those deaths needed to be avenged.
But at what price?
As a fire fighter, we learned early on, you never trade a life for a life. Sacrificing your life to save a single person from a burning building is not considered a fair trade. Sacrificing yourself to save several people, well that makes sense. Even in Hollywood they understood this principle. The movie Saving Private Ryan touched on Captain Miller’s struggle with sacrificing his men to search for and save one man. Prior to the mission of finding Private Ryan, he could justify each life he lost under his command because that one life saved many more.
How many lives have we traded for those lost on 911?
According to this really cool Website by CNN, we have sacrificed 8259 men and woman to avenge the lives of 3000. That does not take into account the tens of thousands who have been wounded. Wounds that will forever alter their quality of life. I have a cousin who is among those thousands. These service men who gave their lives were also fathers, mothers, and someone’s children. Yes they did volunteer for their service and were willing combatants.
But the numbers are staggering.
We have sacrificed over 2 ½ lives for everyone we lost in the 911 attacks. Again, this doesn’t take into account the over 50,000 wounded in the decade long struggle.
al-Qaeda needed to be punished. I supported the war, I voted for Bush, but I now believe Iraq was a bad move. Hell, I was reluctant at the time. This war has become more about the people who allowed al-Qaeda to rise to power, and their freedom and independence once we leave, than about punishing al-Qaeda for their attach on our people.
I now believe we should have smashed al-Qaeda and bugged out. We are paying a heavy price, and the terrorist are not going away. No amount of military presence outside our own borders will prevent these groups from forming.
Can you say ISIS?