Other people’s problems

I think it’s pretty natural for a soldier who is in combat to once in a while think about what they are fighting for. I certainly can’t speak for other people, but in my own experience with combat I was fighting for my friends. We were put together and dropped into a hornets nest. The people we were fighting against weren’t a realistic threat against our way of life, or our freedom at home. We were fighting for each other, and maybe to a slightly lesser extent the good people of Iraq that were being terrorized and killed on a daily basis. The war in Afghanistan started as a war against the persons responsible for attacking America and the people harboring and supporting them. Whatever or wherever the fighting is, the soldiers fighting it have a reason for fighting and carrying on each hellish day.

That being said there is something that has really been bothering me lately. With the conflicts or skirmishes that are popping up around the world in various ‘key’ locations there is always talk and conversation about what should America do? Should we send troops? Should we send planes and bombs? Should we discreetly finance and train the shady opposition fighters; a decision that historically has come back to bite us in the rear on more than one occasion. All for the purpose of political posturing, and to send a message. The most common reaction is to just say, well why don’t we just drop a bunch of bombs on that place and the problem will be solved. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I don’t understand or can’t sympathize with the idiocy it takes to believe that statement.

During my 15 months in Iraq my unit saw the death of 41 American soldiers, many of which I knew quite well and several of which I was close friends with. To some people they are just another number in the 4,487 soldiers that died in the fight in Iraq, or the thousands that have died in Afghanistan, but each and every one of them, even the ones I didn’t know all had friends, and parents, and children and siblings. They paid with their lives for whatever gains we are supposed to have gotten out of the years that were spent fighting there. Now with fighting that has taken place in Egypt, Lybia, Syria and the Ukraine, people are wondering why we don’t take action or deploy soldiers or resources to these other places to solve more of other people’s problems. Taking those actions would set off a domino effect of events that would result in more fighting and dead soldiers.

To me this is a price that we as American’s shouldn’t be willing to pay. It really bothers me to hear people and our leaders discuss sending troops around the world to fight for problems that aren’t our own. America’s military has been called on a number of times in our history to fight for very worthy causes and they have always performed beyond expectation, even in the face of incredible adversity. The military is not a bargaining chip and the soldiers who make it up are not pawns to be gambled with in a game of global politics. In my opinion the conflicts going on around the world are not worth one single American soldier’s life, and for anybody who disagrees with me I’d be willing to bet that the Ukranian Army and Syrian rebels are open to accepting volunteers at this point in time.

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