The war drums are beating in Washington.  The U.S. inched closer to military conflict in Iraq two weeks ago when President Obama announced his strategy of airstrikes in Syria and a troop surge in Iraq of 475 military personnel.
Obama’s ISIS strategy was immediately bashed by Congressional Republicans for not being insane enough. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized Obama’s style of militarism as too weak and stated “we have to have a sustained air campaign in Syria and Iraq. We need to go on offense.” I guess Sen. Graham doesn’t count invading Iraq in 2003, which resulted in the deaths of 750,000 innocent civilians, as “going on offense.”
The most disturbing response to Obama’s strategy came from the top Republican in the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who introduced a formal congressional authorization for America to wage war against ISIS in any nation including Syria.  Essentially, Inhofe wants to re-invade Iraq while invading Syria. That kind of war hysteria could probably even make John McCain blush.
Keeping all this frenzied war-mongering in mind, it is my aim to combat the notion that America must respond militarily towards ISIS. Furthermore, I believe that the U.S. should remove itself from regional conflicts in the Middle East and allow individuals to govern themselves. Supporting radical sentiments such as these is unacceptable in our country, because supporting peace is taboo in America.
Our militarized society gives rise to the grand myth that war is honorable and winnable. The truth is war can never be won. There can be no winners in organized mass slaughter; there can be no glory in killing innocent people.
War is truly embodied by one entity alone, and that is death. Millions of innocent people have died as a result of U.S. foreign policy since WWII, and over 150,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed as well. Barbarity on such a grand scale must cause us to ponder a simple question: What are we fighting for?

The truth about nearly every American war since WWII is that it has been fought with an imperial purpose in mind. Our government has a strong desire to maintain control over the Middle East in order to exploit the region’s natural resources and to provide profits to politically-connected corporations.
For example, Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton received $39.5 billion in government contracts during the Iraq War. As a result their stock price rose from $20 at the invasion’s onset to $57 by 2011. CEO David Lesar saw his personal wealth increase by $150 million during the course of the war. Unfortunately, war profiteering has been widespread during the War on Terror.
This reality is often met with bitter hostility when it is brought up in America. It is much more comfortable to believe the lie that our nation is a spreader of democracy. It stings to know the truth, because the truth confirms our gravest fear.
And that fear is this: that our sons and daughters who died in the war effort did not die for a noble cause.  They also did not die for nothing. Rather their government sent them off to die in a land thousands of miles away from home in order to enrich the likes of Halliburton.
This sad realization leaves us in denial as a nation. We refuse to admit that there is a problem with our foreign policy, and we disregard the plight of the innocents we butcher choosing instead to live in ignorance to their suffering. Voices of dissent are silenced in the mainstream, and anyone willing to challenge the status quo is derided as a fool.
At this point, we, as a nation, are severely lost. We are unfeeling and devoid of empathy. We refuse to admit that the growth of Muslim extremism in the Middle East is a direct result of the ruthless policies that we have employed in the region. But we as a nation have a choice. We can choose to live in unceasing fear of terrorism, we can cling to the fantasy that terrorists target the U.S. out of contempt for our “freedom,” or we can choose to recognize that our policies of perpetual war, occupation, and meddling in Middle Eastern affairs are what have fueled terrorism in the region.
It is my belief that we must choose to avoid war with Iraq. The human death toll in The War on Terror is already too high. The blood of our soldiers and of the innocent Iraqis killed in the conflict is on our politician’s hands. We must oppose President Obama and the Congressional march toward war. Because this war will be no different than the others: hundreds of thousands will die, war profiteers will benefit, and the people will suffer. We must say no to war in Iraq. We cannot afford to be duped again.