Invasion of Iraq compares to tragic New York attacks, religious wars should be avoided

Ian Zulick and Ian Zulick

The savagery of the 9/11 attacks changed the face of America, claimed the lives of thousands of people and shattered the innocence of a whole generation.

Being now almost 23, I remember being in my fourth grade classroom and looking up in awe at the newsreels and knowing something horrible was happening, though I was unable to grasp the seriousness of it until I saw my father’s awestruck face in front of the TV screen.

For a rare moment, he’d been rendered wordless by the shock of the scene unfolding in New York.

In the wake of the attack, terms like “national security,” “terrorism,” “suicide bombers” and “religious extremism” became the dialogue of a world forever changed and “Osama Bin Laden” became a household name.

I’ll never forget the chills that ran down my spine as I watched so many poor souls jump hundreds of stories to their doom.

Things could never go back to the way they had been before.

Thirteen years later, things have not improved.

Iraq’s religious and political divisions are as deep as ever [as shown by the recent ousting of their Shia prime minister who had attempted to stack the parliament in favor of Shia Muslims].

The future of Afghanistan remains uncertain and its precarious politics and war-torn cities do not seem any better for our continued presence there.

It was a righteous endeavor to search for Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice, even if our motives behind the invasion of Iraq were bunk, but when our government debates about an invasion of the same country for the third time in 25 years, we must have the wisdom to see that another such invasion would be futile.

Since the first Gulf War, our involvement in the affairs of the Middle East has only served to increasingly destabilize an already politically volatile region.

The Shia and Sunni Muslims, whose conflict is at the heart of all this violence, are in the midst of an inter-Nicene war that has been going on for over a thousand years and to think we can stop it represents the same kind of arrogant foolhardiness that led to the travesty that was the second Iraq War.

The infighting between the ancient clans of Arabia is none of our concern and we would do well not to get in the middle of it.

The emergence of a group like ISIS was inevitable, but using military action against them does nothing to combat the ideology by which they abide.

As a wise man once said, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea … and ideas are bulletproof”.

Until we have messages instead of missiles for the people of the Middle East, ISIS’ brand of nihilistic anti-western hatred will only come around again in another form as it has in the past, even if the organization is dismantled and its army defeated.

As horrible as the loss of life may be, the wisest course of action is to let events there unfold.

Perhaps one day these two groups will reconcile their differences, but until we learn to leave the quarrels of other nations be, people on all sides will continue to die and towers will continue to fall.

If we see justice done in memory of those who died on 9/11, let us do so not by escalating the violence, but by getting our own troops home where they belong, leaving the religious wars to the zealots.

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