Essay About Iraq and Afghanistan

Table of Content

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are surely something you have heard about. Maybe you have see articles online, heard stories on the television, or, like me, you only knew that it was something that existed. As long as I can remember, there have been U.S. troops in the Middle East. How this never-ending battle begun, when it will be over with, and why it is still going on after seventeen years are just a few major concerns. If the United States is so advanced, strong, and great, if we have been so successful in fighting for our rights in the past, why are we struggling to wrap things up with this war?

In 2001, less than a month after the tragic attack on 9/11, President George W. Bush put into action the plan “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan to dismantle al-Qaeda by denying it a safe base of operations and to removing the Taliban regime from power. In just a matter of weeks, the Taliban was removed from power, but the U.S. did not remove its troops.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

As the years went by, the reason for troops still being deployed in Afghanistan has shifted from protecting the national security of America to unclear notions of nation building and bringing democracy. In 2017, the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb we have ever used in combat on ISIS secret tunnel routes and caves.

In 2003, attention shifted from the issues in Afghanistan to the start of war in Iraq where the Taliban regrouped. Allied forces began with strikes on military targets and an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq. Hussein’s rule collapses and much of Baghdad comes under American control. President Bush declares that the takedown of Saddam Hussein’s government is ‘one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11th, 2001, and still goes on.’ and that he has now removed ‘an ally of Al Qaeda,’. The U.S. continued to look for banned weapons in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein was arrested without fight. Meanwhile, the U.S. had failed to recognize that Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs have been in disarray in recent years. The U.S forces declared a formal end to their operations in Iraq in 2011 while violence still riddled the country and we were still cautious of the Muslim power. However, the U.S. still continues to show involvement with Iraq through Afghanistan.

The United States still has troops in Afghanistan and Iraq after almost twenty years and they continue to strive for an end in Taliban power even after it was claimed to have ended. This leads anyone to believe, well what is really going on over there? President Obama has previously declared a withdrawal of troops more than once and it is unclear why it has yet to be done. Currently, President Trump plans to make decisions about the withdrawal of troops based on conditions on the ground vs a following a timeline.

The United States is no stranger to war. Beginning in 1775, the American revolution took place until 1783 while Americans fought for their independence from Britain. Independence was achieved when the Treaty of Paris was signed with Britain in 1783. In 1812, war was caused by British interference with American trade, impressment of U.S. seamen, and war hawks in Congress striving for western expansion. This was known as the War of 1812. It ended in 1815 with unresolved trade issues and a compromise in territorial claims.

The U.S. annexation of Texas in 1846 led to the Mexican War. By the end in 1848, Mexico was forced to give up two-fifths of its territory to give the U.S. the land that would eventually become California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The Civil War of 1861 began with an economic and political rivalry between the North and South. This grew into a war over the rights of states and slavery. Eleven states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America, which then led to the end of slavery and peace in the country by 1865.

Taking into consideration that most of the wars the United States has either been with itself or due to its expansion, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem somewhat farfetched. This is not something we would typically had been involved in if it were not for the attacks on 9/11. To make matters worse, these wars are still going on and have been since the early 2000’s in comparison to any U.S. war, which has not lasted for more than ten years. To put it into perspective, the United States had been at war for almost twenty years to solve a problem that is not ours. If our goals have supposedly been achieved, then why are our American troops not home?

If we take a step back from the chaos to look at the details of the issues in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can put things into perspective for us as Americans. Around 2.7 million troops have been deployed in these wars with around 7,000 deaths after seventeen years of conflict. Why is the United States struggling to make end with this war? President Trump says, “When I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. Now, we never win a war.” If you ponder over the facts and figures of the struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan, you see that this may be true.

Dominic Tierney, a professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and the author of many books on how America wages war, believes that the U.S. has only mastered the ability to fight the battles of the past, but has yet to gain ground on how to win against insurgents, which are smaller conflicts and groups within countries. The issue is the the U.S. continues to get involved in those clashes. He says, “ “We’re still stuck in this view that war is like the Super Bowl: We meet on the field, both sides have uniforms, we score points, someone wins, and when the game ends you go home,” he told me. “That’s not what war is like now.”

Tierney also believes that the reason we are unable to wrap things up in the Middle East is due to the United States making a rash decision to enter into something that we knew little about while we were feeling strong in addition to our inability to keep up with the times in the aspect of war.. “The U.S. was so powerful after World War II, especially after the Soviet Union disappeared, that Washington was tempted to intervene in distant conflicts around the world in places like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

We ended up intervening in countries where we had little cultural understanding…the US military has failed to adapt to this new era of war.” (Coffey 1). Is it worth it to waste our resources on a battle that we don’t need to win? Haven’t we done enough?

In addition to the United States’ lack of knowledge comes the lack of finances. In the Cost of War series, it was found that the average taxpayer has spent $23,386 on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning in 2001. Neta Crawford, the Costs of War co-director and a professor of political science at Boston University, says that, “The U.S. wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the increased spending on homeland security and the departments of defense, state and veterans affairs since the 9/11 attacks have cost more than $4.3 trillion in current dollars through fiscal year 2017, adding likely costs for fiscal year 2018 and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care, the costs of war total more than $5.6 trillion.” (Gillian 1).

The United States military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a waste of time and resources. The risk of losing human lives and the amount of money going into the battles in the Middle East are most definitely not worth it if our objectives have supposedly been reached since the beginning. Taking into consideration that most U.S. conflict has been with itself which is when the most positive growth has been shown, foreign affairs seem to be a complete waste once the goals of protecting our nation has been achieved and our point has been proved. Domestic affairs should concern the United States more than foreign because of the fact that the main priority of the U.S. should be itself.

The problems in the Middle East affect every American. Taxpayer money is being wasted on the U.S.’s goal to prove it is better than authority in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lives of American troops are being wasted since we completed our mission in the early days of these wars. Time and money that could be used for a solution to a million other problems in the United States is being tossed at a issue that is no longer our problem to control.

In conclusion, although the war with Iraq and Afghanistan was ignited by the 9/11 attacks, it is time to withdraw U.S. troops and put American resources towards more current issues. Over seventeen years ago we begun a battle with the Middle East to protect our country, and we have. Enough time and resources have been thrown away to this foreign affair that has supposedly been taken care of from the beginning.

Cite this page

Essay About Iraq and Afghanistan. (2021, Sep 29). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront