Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Effects of the Iraq War
The Vietnam War created doubts in Americans' minds about their government's ability to win a war. Over three decades later, the Iraq War is having the same effect.
Most of the effects of the Iraq War are easily felt and seen. Thousands of American men and women have died, and thousands more have suffered injuries—both physically and mentally—that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
The cost of the war is another effect that will have drastic consequences. So far, the war has cost us $648 billion. By comparison, the Vietnam War, in 2008 dollars, cost $686 billion. The current campaign in Iraq will easily surpass that figure once American troops finally leave
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There is one effect of the Iraq War, however, that will have a deep impact on the American psyche, as Vietnam did: It will be a long time before Americans again have confidence in their government to accomplish a mission overseas, especially if it involves military action.
Vietnam, more than any other event in American history, caused Americans to distrust its government when it came to matters of foreign policy. As Henry Kissinger, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford said, “Vietnam is still with us. It has created doubts about American judgment, about American credibility, about American power—not only at home, but throughout the world.”
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After that war, Americans no longer had the delusional notion that they could take on any power anywhere in the world and come out victorious. Now, more than three decades later, the Iraq War will mostly likely have the same effect. In fact, with the false premise and faulty intelligence upon which the Iraq War was based, Americans distrust of its government in foreign policy matters might be even more than it was in the years following Vietnam. Regardless, the distrust will be palpable and Americans will be much more skeptical of getting involved in a situation overseas that they don’t see as vital to their interests.
This, of course, presents quite a problem for the next president. Both candidates have pledged to send more troops to Afghanistan, where there has been a resurgence in fighting. This means more dead soldiers and more war debt that our grandchildren will be responsible for paying.
Most Americans now believe that going to Iraq was a mistake. Most Americans also believe that fighting in Afghanistan is necessary to the war on terror. That sentiment, however, will be tested by time and death tolls. Americans are fed up with Iraq, and unless progress is evident Afghanistan, the tide of public opinion will quickly turn against that war as well
Read more at Suite101: The Effects of the Iraq War: Americans No Longer Have Confidence in Foreign Policy Matters http://www.suite101.com/content/the-effects-of-the-iraq-war-a61976#ixzz14MSQt1dy