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31 Jan

Donald Trump has only been in office a week and he hasn’t changed a bit from what he was during the campaign.  Congress has only approved a small handful of his appointments.  He has issued a series of executive orders.  His worst executive order is his one to ban people from coming to the U.S. from 7 Muslim-majority countries.  This is Un-American plain and simple.  It has already been halted by a Federal judge.  It has been said over and over again that we are a nation of immigrants.  Donald Trump’s grandfather was an immigrant.  We are repeating the mistakes of the past.

Unfortunately the U.S. has an ugly history when it comes to welcoming immigrants or people who are different than us.  African-Americans have and continue to face discrimination.  In the 1800’s we weren’t exactly welcoming towards Irish immigrants or Chinese Immigrants.  During WWII Jews faced Antisemitism.  We should have known better considering where our ancestors came from.  Americans escaped England to avoid religious persecution.  Many of the refugees coming from war-torn countries are doing the same thing.

There will always be people who want to deny what our existence as a country was founded on.  Our founding fathers were not deeply religious as some have suggested.  We are not a Christian nation.  We are a nation of many religions.  If people can’t accept that then they should leave.  My great-grandmother escaped Russian territory before WWI ended to escape anti-Semitic pogroms.

There are many more stories like my great-grandmothers.  If we wish to continue as a country we should be welcoming refugees with open arms.  Most people’s security concerns about refugees aren’t based on facts.  We already have very strong refugee screening program in our country.  President Trump’s executive order has put U.S. citizens in danger across the world.  If we continue on this path we won’t be the only ones restricting access to our country.  Other countries will respond with bans on U.S. citizens.  That doesn’t further anyone’s goal or make us safer.


Consequences of the Iraq War

31 May

The Iraq War started 12 years ago and still has had a lasting effect to this day.  It has destabilized the region as well as the country itself.  This war didn’t need to happen.  The original war ended but the war with ISIS has just begun.  We will feel the effects of the Iraq War for decades and maybe even longer to come.  I think that it will be years before we finally know the full impact of the war.

The Iraq War started on my 17th birthday.  I knew the year before that there was a likely hood that we would soon be at war with Iraq.  I was against it before it started because I didn’t believe we had a good reason to go to war.  My fear at the time was what would the world’s response be to our war?  The war in Iraq was popular with the public before and during the initial invasion.  I think the political risk caused many Democrats and some Republicans to vote for the war.

After 9/11 the country was ready to do whatever it took to keep us safe.  Unfortunately we have made bad decisions after an attack.  (i.e. Japanese interment)  The Bush Administration pressured people to support the war in Iraq under guise of national security.  Iraq had attacked its own people, started wars with countries in their region, but they were not about to attack the United States.  Almost all of the Democrats that voted for the war now regret it.  The political support for the war vanished several years after the initial invasion.  President George W. Bush got re-elected because he was a war president.  What helped get him re-elected also helped ruin Bush’s presidency and eventually got the Republicans voted out of office.

The political and overall legacy looks very different than it did when the Iraq War started.  There is almost no public support for the Iraq war right now.  Despite this, Senator Rand Paul remains the only Republican running for president who dares to criticize going to war with Iraq.  All of the Democrats running for president acknowledge going to war with Iraq was a mistake.  Hilary Clinton would probably be president today if she hadn’t voted for the war.

Every president for the next several decades will have to deal with the consequences of the war with Iraq.  While President Obama was against the war, he has had to deal with the after effects.  Without a strong and willing military as well as a lack of political solution in Iraq, the country and the region has broken out into chaos.  Saddam Hussien was a brutal dictator, but he kept the country from breaking into an all out civil war.  Now the country is worse off then when we went in.

What we are left with is the emergence of ISIS, and thousands of lives lost.  We have achieved little in the region because of the war with Iraq.  Over 4,000 U.S. troops are dead because of a misguided war.  Almost $2 trillion were spent to fix the country only to see it fall apart.  My hope is that we will learn from our mistake before we rush into another war, but I am not overly optimistic that will happen.