Since food seems to be a big part of our celebrations, it's natural to gather frequently during the holiday season around our dinning room tables and share our gratifications and remember the less fortunate. This year while gathering around the table and celebrating the season there will be a surge of relief knowing that American troops will be back from Iraq. We will rejoice that many families around the nation will spend the holidays with their loved ones returning home from half-way around the world.
On October 21, President Obama officially announced the end of the war in Iraq and the planned return of all U.S. troops by the end of the year 2011. It boggles the mind that a war that should never have begun has lasted almost nine years, and has drained our coffers of hundreds of billions of dollars that was badly needed at home.
The cover story of Time Magazine's November 21 issue was dedicated to the homecoming of the troops. Mark Thompson, who penned the story, writes: "As the nation prepares to welcome home 45,000 troops from Iraq, most Americans have little or nothing in common with their experiences or the lives of the 1.4 million men and women in uniform." I found that comment to be very true.
When was the last time I watched a documentary about the war in Iraq or read a book about it? I cannot recall. I know there were a few documentaries made about the war and I remember, in particular, one that tracked the lives of soldiers returning home with lost limbs. But Generally speaking, I haven't seen any dramatic documentaries or heard a strong public outcry about the war, nor any movies depicting the atrocities of the war.
When I look back to the Vietnam War era, when I was a teenager in Tehran, it seems to me that I was more aware of U.S. war policies than I am today. I have a small memory from that time that has stayed with me for all these years. One day during the early stages of the Vietnam War, we were at a family gathering where my dad and uncles were gathered around the table discussing politics. I, the curious kid, was drawn to their conversation and I was in shock when I overheard one of my uncles saying, "Wars are waged to make wealth." After so many years this statement has proven true.
After talking to them I returned to my car, reflecting on how many people are sacrificing because of these wars, and on how little the rest of us are aware of it.