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Paul’s ^ Opinion This article is a personal opinion,

weapons: homemade bombs made from fertilizer or discarded artillery shells.”

What really happened? An editorial by Paul Spiewak

Veterans Rejoice! Americans Win! Victory in Iraq!

Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue

Maybe I missed something. There was no surrender, no humbled enemy, no newfound freedom, no democracy unless that’s your definition of a hated puppet dictator, no national glory, and not even a single drop of oil — that went to the Chinese.

So, after Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and more warfare for nearly 20 years; and aside from the trillion dollars we dribbled away; and 4,500 Americans dead, and another 32,226 wounded; we watched the Iraqis burn the American Flag and curse the infidels (that’s us).

The final ceremonies at the airport were marked by heavy guards, and speeches by officials. Each speech assured the troops of their courage and bravery, and of course that their efforts were not in vain. Excuse me! This war was not only clear American aggression for political purposes, but surely was a disaster from the beginning. As the Wall Street Journal phrased it, “The advanced U.S. military was brought low by primitive

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It all started when Iraq invaded Kuwait back in 1990, which, from the Iraqi view was to regain control over an oil- rich wayward province. If one reads the history of Kuwait, once part of the Ottoman Empire, it is evident that the borders were never clearly defined. Its chief industry was the production of pearls, but that industry collapsed when artificial pearls became popular in the 1920s. By 1938, the British had control of both Iraq and Kuwait and oil had been discovered. Britain hung on until 1961, when they finally let go and Kuwait and Iraq became independent.

The problem for both Iraq and Kuwait was the conflict between the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam. Iran is Shia. Saudi Arabia is Sunni. Iraq and Kuwait are mixtures, but up to the fall of Saddam Hussein was ruled by the Sunnis. The difference lies in the claim of descendancy of Mohammed. They have been feuding over this for nearly fourteen hundred years!

This Shia-Sunni conflict is like a powder keg, ready to explode. We put ourselves in the middle, and after the noise and clamor settled down, the one thing we managed to do appears to be that we have kicked the Iraqis out of Kuwait, and we moved in. Kuwait has lots of aliens. Out of a population of 3-1/2 million, only 1 million are citizens. We have a mere 10,000 troops, and maintain seven military bases there, plus a major air force base.

What Do We Stand For?

When I grew up, I had a beautiful picture of America. I was taught that we were a prosperous, humanitarian, peaceful people. If another country

suffered a misfortune, we jumped in to help. Everybody in the world loved us, or at least they wanted to come to America. That picture has changed. We surely are not very prosperous these days. We still have our humanitarian instincts, but it seems to me that we can hardly be called peaceful.

The United States has a worldwide network of between 700 and 800 military bases in foreign countries. There are more than 250,000 military personnel stationed in 156 countries. Our military is considered one of the largest foreign land owners in the world! We maintain those bases and the personnel at a cost of more than a half-trillion dollars per year.

It Is Time to Reflect

Isn’t it time to re-evaluate just what we are trying to achieve? Isn’t it time we reconsidered our place in the world? Isn’t time to examine ourselves and decide what kind of world what kind of world we want to live in? More importantly, isn’t it time to decide what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to live in?

Isn’t it time to re-examine our moral values, our standards, and our obligations? Don’t you want to have the United States of America, OUR United States of America, regain the glory, regain the trust, and regain the respect of everyone in the world?

I believe in a strong America. I, and most of you who read this, pledged our lives in defense of our beloved country. These past few years, I confess, have left me a little bewildered. It seems that we have changed our ways and lost our moral standards. America, I cry for you.

That’s the way it looks to me.

R EUNION F R IENDL Y N EWS • Spring, 2012

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