9-11 Five Years Later and the War in Iraq

September 11, 2001. The most devasting invasion by foreigners occurred on US soil; who would have ever thought this would happen? I was in New Orleans on a business seminar when the incident occurred. Someone came into the conference room and whispered to one of the lead instructors. It was announced in our closed off conference room, but at first we didn’t believe it. We left the conference room of the hotel, and the TV was on in the bar area. We were glued to the TV, calling home, family and relatives for the next two days.

Now, five years later, there is a reported 2,973 deaths from the WTC incident, with 24 still missing on the books. Bone fragments are still being found, as new buildings are being erected on the site. Shortly after the WTC incident, President Bush had an approval rating of 86%. However, in the 6-month period following the WTC collapse, the US issued approximately 51,529 Visas to people from the Middle East, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and more. Among the Visas issued, a large number were nationals from countries where al Qaeda was known to be active. Why did this happen? Money. America was devastated that such a terrorist act could occur in our homeland. Why were we so lax as to let this happen? Did we feel over-superior that no one would dare?

The WTC remained the focus of television, dinner conversations, work-place topic, etc. for the remainder of 2001. Bodies were retrieved and identified, the death toll climbed higher than what was initially thought. Fear of flying preyed on those that had to, for one reason or another. Everyone looked towards our leaders to provide answers as to how this could happen -here.

Before I start the rest of this narrative, I would like you to know that I am retired military, and a full-time federal employee. I was deployed twice, and have no regrets. I pride myself on my military service, and volunteered for an 8-month Bosnia tour in 2000. My points, I believe, are not without merit. If you disagree, that is fine, we are all entitled to our opinions, which is what makes the United States a ‘free’ country.

Year 2002:
The US invaded Afghanistan on March 1, thus beginning Operation Anaconda. The operation ended on March 19 after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. President Bush addressed the UN for support of a war on Iraq. Congress passed a joint resolution that authorized President Bush to use the US military forces, as he seemed fit, against Iraq. Saddam Hussein was given an ultimatum by the UN Security Council to disarm or face serious consequences. The Homeland Security Act was signed into law in November of this year. After many requests, and investigations, Iraq files a weapons declaration with the United Nations Security Council in December. It was believed to be incomplete by the council and the weapons inspectors, and President Bush further maintained that Iraq had WMD that it had not disclosed. It remains unconfirmed that Iraq was involved in the WTC attack.

Year 2003:
The Department of Homeland Security officially began in January, initially staffed by the military. Leaders of eight countries support the US plan to invade Iraq at an undisclosed time. However, in February, more than 10 million people, in over 600 cities worldwide, protest a war in Iraq, before it has even begun. SARS makes its first appearance in a hospital in Vietnam. The United Arab, along with Kuwait and Bahrain urge Saddam Husseing to leave office to avoid a war. US Customs and the Secret Service merge with Homeland Security. On March 19, after Saddam Hussein and his sons refused to vacate Iraq, the first US bombs were dropped. The War in Iraq was official the following day, March 20th. In April, US forces seized the International AIrport, as well as the city of Baghdad, supposedly ending Saddam’s reign of Iraq. Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, President Bush declared the war was over, and “mission accomplished.” NATO took command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, their first major command in over 55 years. Saddam Hussein is captured by American troops in Tikrit in December.

Year 2004:
Although President Bush declared the ‘war’ over in April of 2003, the United States and others continue to occupy Iraq. The US death toll reached 1,274 American soldiers. The Presidential election takes place, and while President Bush’s approval rating had substantially declined since the start of the war, he manages to win the election, against John Kerry, by a mere margin. This was also a major year for gay rights activists. Eleven states passed contitutional amendments restricting the rights of same-sex couples to marry. While our country and economy are in conflict, what is the point of the gay-marriage ban? The United States (America) is a melting pot of individuals. It began with people who moved here to escape from religious persecution; so after 300+ years, why are gays persecuted?
Something to think about, for those religious fanatics, or conscientious objectors who were either never drafted, or never “volunteered” for military service:
If you only knew how many “homosexuals” volunteered their lives to save yours, and protect our country, maybe you would pay more attention to your own “family”, and your “behind the closed doors” partners and actions.
“If you didn’t serve, then you don’t deserve to judge others.” – my quote

Year 2005:
The ‘War” that ended in April of 2003 continues. In September, 150,000 + protestors converged on Washington, DC to protest the war. The death toll of US soldiers in Iraq reaches 2000, and Saddam Hussein’s trial began in October. In the meantime, Canada legalizes same-sex marriage, and Katrina devastates New Orleans. The following month, Rita hits southern Texas, as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, again.

Year 2006:
Almost 5-years after the 9-11 tragedy that will never be forgotten by Americans, the death toll of US soldiers in Iraq exceeds 2,600. Over 19,400 have been wounded, and one in six returning soldiers suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. All this in reaction to 9-11, but it has never been confirmed that Iraq was involved. Osama bin Laden remains at large, and is attributed, along with the al Qaeda, to be the culprits behind the attack on the WTC. Saddam Hussein is still on trial, and no WMD were ever located in Iraq. It is increasingly hard to trust, or take the US government seriously. In April, a massive anti-war demonstration was held in New York, marking the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, despite President Bush’s statement in April of 2003 that the war was over – ‘mission accomplished’. There are approximately 133,000 US troops still in Iraq.

This writer,
for one, finds it ironic that when the approval ratings for President Bush decline substantially, incident occurs, i.e. al Qaeda tapes appear, terrorist attempts on the US are present, etc. He attempts to maintain fear in Americans of an impending attack in the US, insisting that the same threats exist today, as they did on 9-11. If that is the case, then what has Mr. Bush accomplished in 5 years, except lining the family pockets, and trying to finish what his father started in Saudi Arabia. The Bush’s are major stock holders of Halliburton and Brown & Root, both which receive most of the civilian government contracts overseas. This being the case, sure, why not prolong the income?

President Bush stated that he believes that history will look favorably on his actions while in the office of the President of the United States. I don’t believe that is so. There were so many lives lost on 9-11, and continue to be lost in Iraq, plus the 500+ billion spent on the Iraq endeavor, the state of the US economy, and job market. What happened to take care of home first? Kids have no medical insurance, homeless and mentally ill veterans line the streets of almost every major city, as well as indigent individuals. Nothing is being done to help our own.

Mr. Bush’s most recent, “History teaches that under-estimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake.” I believe this saying defines the Bush family. They have their hands in the pockets, which are lined with death and money from 9-11 until now.

NOTE: This writer does not support the Republican or Democratic party, but is a registered voter, and does vote. The vote is cast based on whom appears to be the best candidate for the American people, and not spending money overseas.

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