10 years as war was officially declared in Iraq we have lost 4486 service members in combat alone with 32,223 wounded; lest we not forget the thousands we have lost to suicide over the same time. It seems easy at times for Americans to complain about the budgets, complain about the cost of the war and often times forgetting the men and women lost there. Men and women that went to protect our country and most believing in what they were doing there.
Men like Cpt Mark Stubenhofer, killed December 2004 before he was able to see his third child Hope, watch Lauren dance and Justin play baseball or SFC James Stoddard killed September 2005 missing his daughter Makenzie’s first pageant or his son Jay becoming an amazing young man. These are just 2 of the thousands of stories of men and women missing milestones in their children’s lives because of their commitment to our country.
Now is the time that many are comparing where we were when war was declared to current; where we stand with the estimates of war based on realities. A few top concerns for American’s both pre and post war:
• The Brown study estimates the cost of the war to be $1.7 trillion with millions more due for veteran’s care. This is a far cry from the original figure in the 10’s of millions; also proof that the war last far longer than anyone could have imagined.
• It was also going to secure Iraqi oil production thus lowering/securing our overall cost per barrel however when the war began American’s were paying an average of $1.72/gallon, today the average gas price is $4.18/gallon.
• American were told of the need to provide security by going to war and standing up for ourselves. Patriotism was at an all time high and everyone seemed to be pro-American and pro-military. Saddam was found December 2003 and ultimately hung in 2006, purportedly to further increase our national safety however by proof of the deaths post 2003 in Iraq it didn’t seem to make the world much safer.
• The rate of suicide in the military has increased exponentially. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a phrase that is almost synonymous with deployments. Pre 2003 the rate of suicide among military personelle was at the same rate as the civilian world however analysis of data from the Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment, shows a striking 80 percent increase in suicides among Army personnel between 2004 and 2008. In 2012 there were 493 suicides across the branches of service, that’s 1 suicide every 18 hours. The number of suicides in the past decade, 3,438, exceeds the 3,256 combat deaths suffered by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.
Based on the facts that have come out over the past ten years it appears that the war is not as it appeared from the beginning; whether that’s by political choice or just the hazards of war will most likely remain unknown to the general public. American’s need to continue to stand behind our military and their families, supporting their work and struggles. Also, we need to never forget those men and women that have been killed in combat and those, due to suicide, have also become the casualties of the war.