Students react to U.S. troop withdrawal

MCCC students are having mixed reactions to the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After President Barack Obama upheld his campaign promise of ending the six year military war, students at MCCC are thinking about several different aspects of the war and who it has affected.

Patricia Austin, 18, thinks of the families of the deployed soldiers.

“I think it’s great that the troops are returning home. This war has gone on way too long and I know that many families are grateful that their loved ones will be coming,” Austin said.

Adrienne Poupard reflects on the lives lost, both American and Iraqi.

“I think that it is about time the troops are being pulled out of Iraq. We should have never been there in the first place and thousands of soldiers as well as innocent civilians lost their lives,” Poupard said.

According to CNN.com, 4,736 U.S. and Coalition forces have died during the war.

A report released by the Department of Defense states that 4,226 American soldiers were killed while deployed. That same report goes on to say that over 31,000 troops were injured.

As for the people of Iraq, a report done by the Iraq Ministry of Human Rights states that, as of October 2009, over 85,000 civilians have died during the war.

Not all students are exactly happy to hear about the troop withdrawal. Karianne Kidd, 18, wonders about the ramifications of leaving Iraq.

“I think that if we withdrawal now it would be a big mistake,” Kidd said. “There is so much going on and there is so much that still needs to be resolved. We need to finish what we started.”

Arianna Johansen thinks the withdrawal has more do with a lack of leadership over necessity.

“Once we’ve declared war, we should commit to it wholeheartedly and go at it with everything we have. We haven’t done that with the War in Iraq; our efforts have become more and more reluctant. Obama’s not willing to lead our soldiers to victory, so I don’t think it even matters anymore–let him withdraw the troops,” Johansen said.

While all combat brigades have been withdrawn from Iraq, around 50,000 troops remain. And even though they are only present in a support capacity, their safety is still a concern. A safety that is very fragile, especially with several anti-Muslim sentiments taking place in the US.

With controversy surrounding a planned Mosque four blocks away from Ground Zero and several vandalized Mosques across the country, soldier safety is already being compromised enough, as well as relations between the U.S. and countries in the Middle East.

The latest in line is the spectacle that was made concerning a planned mass burning of Quran books, the religious text associated with the Muslim religion.

The burning, which was planned to take place on Sept. 11 at a church in Gainesville, FL, did not go through, but managed to cause a strong reaction in students.

Benjamin Romero, 18, feels that it would negatively impact the troops still in Iraq.

“The Quran burning would have been exceptionally bad because it would have caused a lot more problems than it could have ever solved,” Romero said.

Some students had stronger reactions. Kidd is glad that it was canceled, and feels that nothing could have come from it. She also feels that Pastor Terry Jones, the organizer, was just trying to cause trouble.

“The burning was stupid and I’m glad he didn’t do it. It would have made the angry people who want to hurt our country angrier. And why do it? It makes us look just as bad as those who want to hurt our troops and us. What would it even accomplish? Nothing! Would it end the war? How about no,” Kidd said.

“It was a stupid idea to begin with and I am ashamed that the man can call himself an American and a Christian,” Kidd added.

Poupard is more sympathetic to Muslim followers who are being unfairly blamed, and detests the Quran burning wholeheartedly.

“It was adding fuel to a fire that doesn’t need to grow larger and secondly, it was out of pure immaturity. Not all Muslims had something to do with the 9/11 bombings. In my eyes two wrongs don’t make a right,” Poupard said.