War is an event that all nations experience, often many timesw throughout the course of history. We all know too well that the United States is no exception. As students, our generation has lived through one continuous war, or wartime environment, for most of our lives.
The September 11 attack to the Twin Towers in New York City occurred in 2001, at which point many of us were only 3-5 years old. This event triggered the beginning of the Afghan War, the longest recorded foreign war in America’s history.
According to an article written by the Washington Post, concerning America’s longest foreign wars, the Afghan War began in 2001 and isn’t projected to end until 2016. The next longest war was the Vietnam War which only lasted about ten years in comparison. An entire decade is long enough as it is, so adding five years to that is downright torture. The same article mentions that the Iraq War, a conflict that took place during the Afghan War (from 2003-2011), saw the United States and other nations attempt to topple the Iraqi government.
But who really is the threat here? We originally thought it was Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi revolutionary leader who was later captured and sentenced to death in 2003. Then we thought it was Osama bin Ladin and his terrorist group, the Taliban. When bin-Ladin was assassinated in 2011, the Taliban effectively fell apart, and has been relatively quiet since then. Our newest threat appears to be the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a terrorist network responsible for multiple humahannah colorn rights abuses and war crimes. Are you seeing the pattern? When one gets knocked off, another is there to take its place.
Faces change, but the threat and battlefield stay the same. It’s gotten to the point where we aren’t fighting one specific person or group, but instead, a concept– terrorism. There are always going to be radicals who take their ideologies too far, no matter which banner they are fighting under. The scariest part about it is that we can eliminate every base, and assassinate all of their leaders, but the beliefs will still remain. Minds aren’t so easily swayed, and the problem cannot be fully extinguished by brute force alone.
The idea of war used to be a big deal to the countries involved. For example, families would sit, glued to their TV sets, anxious to hear news regarding World War II or the Vietnam War. Today, it seems every other news story is about the Afghan War and international struggles relating to it, and it barely even registers. We’ve become so accustomed to the idea of war that many of us forget what a big deal it is.
From family members being deployed left and right to the numerous video games about fighting and violence, today’s students have, for the most part, become completely desensitized to the idea of war. Many students don’t even fully comprehend what is actually happening in the Middle East; they understand that a lot of our military are over there fighting, but they couldn’t describe who or what we are fighting.
On the other hand, there are also students who completely understand the extent of what’s going on because they have family members who have been deployed or for an interest in enlisting themselves. The JROTC program, which we have talked about in the past, is a great resource and outlet to the military field for students who want to join the armed forces.
Returning to the subject of the war itself, I am in no way suggesting we completely remove military presence and abandon all efforts in the Middle East, because as soon as we remove our last platoon from the region, the radicals will be free to do what they please. At the same time, however, those hopefuls who believe an end to this wartime is coming soon are, unfortunately, sadly mistaken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.