Are there no objectors out there to the commonality of war?

Jon Weiler

Jon WeilerColumnist

I hear her voice starting to crack, “I wake up each day and I have to find reasons to get out of bed. It’s getting harder and harder to do.”

My feeble response of, “It will eventually be ok,” was met with her very sad, “I don’t think it will be.”

I am an Iraq War Veteran. I was part of the invading force in 2003 and spent the majority of that year occupying the Southwest Sector of Baghdad. This is part of a conversation that I had with the mother of the very first man that I knew to die in Iraq. Although his death occurred after we had been fighting in country for a little over three months, it made the war real. It became a true turning point in many lives. He was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while sitting in the same spot that I occupied the day prior, if that says anything about fate. I visited with his mom for a little under an hour, approximately four years after the event. She was very candid, as most stripped-down individuals are. She outlined how her son’s death had led to the deconstruction of her entire life. The shock and grief eventually ended her marriage. The family unit that had been present when their child was alive was completely shattered when he was killed in the Southwest Sector of Baghdad. It was a raw conversation that brought back explicit memories of that day. I hung up the phone, overcome with anger and immense sadness. Those feelings are still with me as I write this.

A story of a young man or woman killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan is one that everyone understands. The Global War on Terror now affects all of us. There are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends and neighbors who currently reside or have been in Afghanistan or Iraq. These wartime deployments are so commonplace that it has become normal day-to-day life. Think about that. It has become normal for us to send our youth to war. Never before has there been such a globalized effort to eradicate a perpetually elusive and strategically undefined enemy named Terror. Nine years of fighting in Afghanistan has brought us into the longest foreign military campaign in the history of our nation. The supposed perpetrators of 9/11 have not been brought to justice and we are no closer to containing al-Qaida then when we first set foot in the nation.

We have been fighting in Iraq for approximately seven years now with the same results. There were no weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons plants found to justify such a bold move to invade two separate nations under one campaign. One can argue that we were there to free the Iraqi citizens from such an oppressive governing regime, but I will propose this question: Are the Iraqi people any more free now, seven years later, then when they were under Saddam Hussein? More importantly, are we, the American People, any better off now than we were ten years ago? Our efforts in Afghanistan have required more of our youth to meet the mission requirements and the administration has cleverly changed the name of the fighting force in Iraq from Combat Brigades to “Advise and Assist Brigades”, keeping them in country executing the same mission.

Why isn’t anyone organizing to protest? It is the obligation of the citizen to demand answers in such costly wars. So why aren’t we doing this? We are truly in unprecedented times, continuously on the brink of some sort of destruction. Why we put up with such a dysfunctional environment is amazing to me. If we have lost our way, or did not know our way to begin with, why are we still freely giving our sons and daughters to a lost endeavor? Our futures are at stake, each and every one of us, and we seem content to just let it play out. In the end, who will be held accountable for this: those who send our families to war or those who allow it to continue.

Jon Weiler is a non-traditional student at SDSU majoring in English. Contact him at [email protected].