Last week President Obama announced the end of the Iraq War and the last troops stationed there pulled over the border into Kuwait over the weekend. It lifted my spirits to know that someone had finally recognized that our occupation of the nation was ruthless and had little to do with the “ guerrilla forces” of Middle Eastern terrorists. I’m not even sure if that’s the right word to use. The government has painted so much propaganda in our heads that the whole reason why we entered Iraq has now become a blur: to retaliate for 9/11? To cease secret weapons of mass destruction? To finish the war that George W. Bush’s father started? Mmmmm. Whatever the reason, I know that we have been there way to long. It’s been nearly ten years. Ten years! Sounds like Vietnam to me.
The sadness of it all is that we have spent so much time destroying other countries in order to help build them back up the “democratic” way, while our own country has suffered due to the large amount of money being fueled into military expenses. Don’t get me wrong, I love our soldiers an praise them for their courage. But I truly hope this is the war that ends all wars. American troops are still stained in Afghanistan, for what reason I and many other American citizens probably don’t know. Whether it’s a swift political move on Obama’s part or someone just woke up and realized it’s the right thing to do, I’m happy that our troops are coming home. But because I was still confused on what the world has been going on over there for the past eight years, I decided to share this great time-line from CNN that I found to help catch you up to speed, too.
March 20: President George W. Bush appears on television screens across America and in a four-minute speech says, “My fellow Americans, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”
April 9: U.S. forces topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, marking the symbolic fall of his regime.
May 1: Standing under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished” aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declares that major combat operations in Iraq is over. The pronouncement later turns out to be premature.
October 2: The head of the CIA’s search for banned weapons in Iraq says his group has found no weapons of mass destruction, the reason the Bush administration had cited for going to war.
December 13: Coalition forces capture Saddam Hussein at the bottom of a ventilated “spider hole” six to eight feet underground in Adwar, near a compound of ramshackle buildings about 9 miles (14 kilometers) outside his hometown of Tikrit. He offers no resistance.
April 28: Photographs from Abu Ghraib prison spark international outrage after they show detainees in degrading positions, with American soldiers posing next to them and smiling. The images show naked prisoners stacked on top of each other, or being threatened by dogs, or hooded and wired up as if for electrocution.
January 30: Defying insurgent attacks, Iraqi voters cast ballots in a milestone election designed to steer the country down the road of democracy. It is the first free election in half a century.
June 7: A U.S. air strike kills Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq.
December 30: Saddam Hussein is hanged. He was 69.
January: Bush deploys 30,000 additional troops, a “surge” strategy designed to quell violence and restore security.
November 27: The Iraqi parliament ratifies a security agreement with the United States that says U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.
February 27: President Barack Obama approves a plan to withdraw roughly two-thirds of all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010, with the remaining out of the country by the end of the following year.
January: With the departure of British, Australian and Romanian troops from Iraq, Multi-National Forces-Iraq undergoes a name change to United States Forces-Iraq.
August: No U.S. troops were killed in Iraq in August, marking the first month without an American military death there since the United States invaded the country.
December 15: The U.S. mission formally ends with a flag casing ceremony in Baghdad.
December 18: In a final tactical road march, the last U.S. troops in Iraq cross the border into Kuwait.