U.S.-Iraq War

Christina Hoeck

Christina Hoeck

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.

The turmoil began on September 11, 2001, when four United States airplanes were hijacked by a group of terrorists who crashed the airplanes into the World Trade Centers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

They also failed a mission when the hijackers were overtaken by passengers and crashed the plane into a field in Philadelphia.

The United States immediately pointed fingers at the group of terrorists called Al Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden. After September 11, bin Laden went into hiding in his country, Afghanistan, and President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to invade Afghanistan to locate and remove bin Laden.

After an ongoing search failed to locate bin Laden, suspicion was placed on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. His regime was thought to have played a role in the September 11 attacks, so U.S. forces launched attacks on Iraq in search of Hussein.

During the war, American people tuned into radio reports, TV news briefs, and newspaper articles to find out the latest information. They heard about the countless deaths of Iraqi citizens and the deaths of United States soldiers.

One SDSU student experienced the war first-hand. Luke Perman, a range science major, is a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard and in January 2003 was sent to Missouri. When the war started in March, Perman was sent to Iraq.

“When I was in Iraq, I saw how poor people were, and even though I was an American soldier, they were still friendly, and if they didn’t like President Bush, they still liked our troops,” said Perman.

Now, three years later, U.S. troops remain in Iraq, leaving the American people speculating.

“We need to ask ourselves the question ‘What is the right thing to do now?'” said Robert Burns, distinguished professor of the political science department at SDSU.

“It is a very difficult decision because sooner or later we need to withdraw … this situation is deteriorating into a real civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis and depending on how you define ‘civil war,’ it could already be one, and that might accelerate the withdrawal (of the U.S. troops).”

In a March 13, 2006, article on cbsnews.com, it was stated that “General William Wallace, the senior Army commander, told his troops that, ‘we’re going north, and then we’re going home’ but after ‘going north’, they went into Baghdad but have not returned home.”

Bush hasn’t given a reason as to why the United States has continued their stay in Iraq, but, according to Burns, “We need to rebuild the economic base (in Iraq) because the war destroyed what was already there.”

“I think Americans have lost sight of why we’re over there,” said freshman nursing major Jordan Schettler.

“It started out because of September 11, yet we haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction, so I think Bush should analyze why our people are still in Iraq.”

“Americans are impatient about everything, and people were expecting this to be short, but it could take ten years to build a stable government in Iraq,” said Perman.

In Iraq, the war is still going on and is stronger than ever. A few weeks ago, five hundred civilians were killed in the bombing of a Shiite shrine.

Also, according to MSNBC.com, the United States military is sending around 700 troops to Iraq during Ashura, an Iraqi holiday, because there will likely be problems.

No one really knows why and how long the United States troops will remain in Iraq, but Americans can only hope for the safe recovery of all of our U.S. troops.

“Iraq has definitely improved since we’ve been over there,” said Perman.

“Good things are happening there – there are schools that are being funded better and new construction, and I think now Iraq is better off than before.”

#1.884588:1227790591.JPG:IRAQ.JPG:Luke Perman and an Engineering Core built a bridge across this river in order to maintain supply lines: