The involvement of the United States in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been subject of immense arguments on whether the decisions taken were really good or wrong. The issue brings forth opponents as well as proponents tabling their arguments in relation to the invasions. There are quite a number of contentious issues when the involvement of United States in these wars is subjected to debate. Considering the number of civilians and troops who have died and the critical aspect of the taxpayers' money spend, the issue ca not fail to attract such heated debates. It is evident that both wars did create many issues with regard to benefits or disadvantages, general dynamics of the wars, victims, spending business in the invasions and big business from the wars amongst other aspects. The debate about whether war is big business for involved parties also plays a major role in the discussion about the decision aspects that the country arrived at before the invasions. Further, this involves the benefits that the United States may have attained after spending so much money on the invasions with regard to business opportunities. On the other hand, it subsequently brings forth the aspects of how the civilians may have gained in terms of business opportunities, improved governance, security and the general problem resolution.
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The invasions lately were put on the edge from criticisms from numerous dimensions after some shocking statistics were released. Such information did unravel crucial information about the troops operations and activities during the wars and the total estimates of numbers who have died both civilians and soldiers. In addition the estimates of how much the country has spent and the planned budget financing for the operations in these wars could not have escaped outrageous reactions from involved parties. All these issues culminate to the big debate of whether it is now the right time the United States ceased the military activities in the countries considering both short-term and long-run implications. The idea of continuity in military operations in these countries seems to be opposed by many since this consequently would result to more and more spending. It is rather a complicated issue for the Obama administration because even more have raised questions about the logic behind the initial decision to invade these countries. The situation is quite problematic with taxpayers who are for the idea that budget allocations should no more include such activities. Many are for the opinions that such huge budget allocations should immediately be re-directed to sectors in dire need of financial boost such as education and health sectors.
The global war on terror also referred to as war on terrorism is an ongoing military campaign carried out internationally and spearheaded by the United Kingdom and the United States. This war on terror also receives support from both non-NATO and NATO countries either financially or military assistance. The military campaign launched after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 saw the invasion of Afghanistan by the combined military forces from U.S and UK. This was an immediate response by these governments who believed terrorists behind the deadly attacks on Americans belonged to the Al-Qaeda network led by Saudi born dissident Osama bin Laden. After the invasion of Afghanistan, other operations were launched especially the war in Iraq leading to the 2003 invasion. The original idea for the commencement of this international camping was to wage war against terrorist organizations with Al-Qaeda being the main target. The terrorists were considered as a big threat to global peace and the operations were geared towards their elimination. The regimes in both countries were accused of being connected to such deadly groups as well as offering them support. Further, they were perceived to be possible source of threat to the United States as well as its allies. War on terror was for the first time mentioned by the then U.S president George W. bush to mean that there was struggle against groups that were designated as terrorist and regimes holding strong links and connections. Such struggle would involve global military activities, ideological decisions, political and legal implications. The main focus was therefore to embark on a campaign to wage war on Al-Qaeda and militant Islamists in an effort to phase them out and avert the possibility of other deadly attacks (Mahrken and Thomas149).
In the wake of September 11 attacks, the Bush administration gave the Afghan government an ultimatum to present al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or stand the threat of being attacked. The Taliban government however demanded for evidence that could prove that bin Laden had a hand in the September attacks. They further offered to conduct in their Islamic courts any kind of trial if indeed such evidence could warrant a trial. The U. S administration just refused to provide any evidence linking bin Laden to the deadly attacks on Americans. Subsequently, the invasion by the U.S went ahead according to earlier threats in a bid to oust the Taliban from power. The U. S carried the attacks with the support from UK and partnered allies by October 2001 in an attempt to capture bin Laden whom they perceived as being accommodated by the Taliban regime. On the other hand, Iraq had been perceived by the U.S since 1990 as a state that did sponsor international terrorism. The Saddam regime had fallen out of favor with U.S and the UN for its fight with Iranians and Kurds using chemical weapons. The U. S government accused the Saddam regime of having weapons of mass destruction and posing a threat to global peace. This subsequently led to the 2003 invasion in an attempt to stop more use of the weapons of mass destruction and topple Saddam regime from power. Further, the invasion named operation Iraq freedom was seen as a resolution to the serious consequences that the Iraq regime posed and hugely determined to counteract insurgency attacks (Mahrken and Thomas187).
It is evident that these wars have brought far reaching implications both to the United States and the involved countries. As a result of these wars, thousands of civilians have died while tens of thousands seriously wounded with deaths of U.S troops being on increase day after day. The civilians in these wars bear the greatest impacts in relation to social, economical and political implications. The U.S decision to invade these countries seems to be ill-timed and ill-advised because the set goals and objectives were not achieved fully. In attempts to provide citizens of these countries with political regimes that were corruption free, human rights sensitive and democratic, many atrocities were committed against the same citizens. Cases of human rights abuses by military personnel during these operations are apparent making the same citizens to be victims instead of being liberated. The countries were plugged into economic and political crisis during the invasions. This actually affected the way of governance and rule and since then the setting up of governments has been a contentious issue in both countries. After the invasion huge sums of money are required to re-build infrastructure and other core economic structures.
On the other hand, the invasions might have just proved a big business for the Unite states. Reports actually show that some U.S corporations do lobby openly in attempt to have increased amounts of money invested in war. This is because the aftermath of invasion will mean the government would offer contracts that accrue enormous profits for the private contractors. Actually in other terms war can be described as a big business as it is proved by the way private companies are doing really well in war areas. As at January 2010, there were about 55,000 private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan dealing with armed security as reported by the Congressional Research Service. Many other defense contracts make huge sums of money from the federal contracts they get from the government. The reconstruction of Iraq has for instance provided a lucrative business for U.S based companies dealing with oil services and construction works. Such companies that are among the largest privately owned contractors include among others the Houston-based oil services company Halliburton and Bechtel a San Francisco-based construction company. There are many companies contracted in re-building and reconstructing these countries and they are just doing good business. However, this has led to the development of a notion and perception that the wars might have been initially waged in an attempt to promote lucrative business (Belasco 35).
Evidence has shown that some military personnel do collude with private contractors in securing business in these areas. By doing so, the military personnel are perceived to have come into the areas with other missions apart from military activities. This only makes the victims perceive that such people invaded their country so that they may accrue wealth and take it back to their home countries. If such a perspective is the original idea of going into war, then ordinary citizens stand to be the losers because they are the taxpayers and recruited soldiers in that operation. It is clear that victory was not achieved from the invasions and people have lost confidence with the decision making organs whom they accuse of having other side interests. Some have gone a notch higher to argue that for instance the Iraq invasion was meant to take control of the oil resources and once that business perspective is attained, then the country would not hesitate in pulling the military out the country.
The people of both countries as well as from the Unite states stand to be victims of the invasions considering the impacts, adverse effects and the far reaching implications resultant from the military activities. The invasion was and is still considered by many as being irresponsible hence mounting pressure to end the wars responsibly. During this period of wars, there have been many dimensions, directions and dynamics in relation to the original idea of the invasions. The war on terror might have been launched with the aim of offering solutions to conflicts but to a certain degree it may have created more conflicts than before. During the closing stages of ousting the Taliban, many non-governmental organizations could not operate in Afghanistan. This created a worst situation with regard to humanitarian crisis as millions of Afghans flew the country to either Pakistan or Iran. The number of refugees who fled the country represented almost one-quarter of the total population making Afghan refugees among the largest population worldwide. Considering earlier economic sanctions against Iraq, the situation was not better either as evidenced by humanitarian crisis that was apparent. This was characterized by a large number of refugee populations as many of the citizens were also displaced (Bowman 43).
The dynamics of the war in Iraq saw escalation aspect whereby the insurgency continued to increase despite the ongoing operations by foreign troops. The idea of adding more and more troops to the country did not bring stability in this country as some would think. However, it was the efforts of Iraqis themselves of mediating between the opposition leaders and the militias to be actively involved in the political process. It was neither the surge nor the invasion did strengthen institutions nor address the core conflict causes but the attempt by Iraqis themselves. The announcement that at a point in time foreign troops would withdraw their operations brought changes in the dynamics related with solving the contentious issues. The war on terror ideology has also undergone some dynamics in that conflict resolution does not necessarily mean that military force must be used. The approach which is gaining momentum especially with the U.N is embarking on peaceful avenues in conflict resolutions. This will enable community engagements through peace building processes and the strengthening of institutions.
The war on terrorism has further been characterized by changing dynamics in relation to the notion and perceptions people currently hold. The ideology has proved to be highly contentious as criticism continues to be leveled against it. There is the argument that participating governments have used the tactic as an avenue to interfere with human rights, minimize civil liberties and pursue their policy objectives in the long-run. Further, critics argue that war on terror can actually provide the basis for perpetual conflict whereby open-ended objectives of war on terror can subsequently lead to a situation of ever rising conflict. Considerable number of critics including policy organizations, security experts and politicians are of the idea that the war on terrorism is inefficient and counterproductive. Instead of providing avenues for conflict resolution, the campaign just led to more terrorist recruitments, increased U.S opposition and increased danger of possible attacks on United States together with allies. With regard to the international campaign on the war against terror, the United States has also received criticism because of applying double standards. The U.S administration has been seen to be reluctant in taking measures in relation to the campaign on terrorism against countries such as Pakistan and Iran (Bowman 65).
The costs incurred by the United States in these two wars are enormous and ever increasing as more and more money is allocated for military spending. The wars have spend an amount higher than one trillion dollars of taxpayers money and the operations are considered as the most expensive ever to be carried out by US forces after second world war. The education sector and healthcare are in need of more funding and the department of defense is getting more money. It is evident in these wars that the victims are ordinary citizens in both countries. In Iraq and Afghanistan, civilians have suffered so much that they can not wait for the foreign troops to leave. In the United States, taxpayers' money is being directed to an event which has caused severe impacts financially, psychologically and spiritually. I do strongly support the idea that since these wars were started without having substantial evidence and relying on incompetent intelligence, this is the ideal time that troops should pull out of the two countries. Through that, taxpayers' money will be redirected to more useful sectors such as education and the provision of good healthcare. It beats logic when spending is directed on such projects doomed not to achieve substantial performance. Although, the invasions cannot be discarded as a total failure, the impacts to the civilians and taxpayers outweigh the gains. It is clear that original goals and objectives that were to be achieved by the invasions were not fully achieved and more harm than good did persist. Because the start of wars was uncalled for and ill-advised, it is the high time that the Obama administration embarked on a more responsible way in ensuring foreign troops do leave the two countries eventually.
The huge sums of money spend in Iraq was unwarranted for because no weapons of mass destruction were discovered. These massive expenditures should not then continue to go for waste because they can be useful elsewhere. The invasions in Iraq did just inspire more opposition, hatred, terrorist insurgency and mistrust from many world countries. The U.S economy has been negatively affected by the two wars with regard to the federal budget. At first, when these wars started, the Bush administration had severely underestimated want would actually been spent in the wars. They just believed that the conflicts would have been inexpensive, minimal and short-lived but later this has proved to be very wrong. Further, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted into prices of imported cruel oil going up therefore affecting the economy negatively. Considering the contribution of Iraq oil to global oil production it commands some considerable share and any interference would consequently have some substantial effects. The Bush administration had earlier made mistakes in the assumption that by waging war against Iraq, oil prices would be controlled hence ensuring stability and low prices. I strongly disagree with the proponents of these invasions who argue that, U.S actions were geared towards eliminating enemies who posed security threats worldwide. However, global peace is still being threatened even after these operations and activities by the military. Considering the many decision mistakes that were made prior to this campaign I am for the idea that from the word go something must have gone wrong especially in decision making. It is the right time for U.S to withdraw troops from these countries but continue to offer other services as they may be required.
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