I can’t remember a time when we weren’t at war. Warfare has spanned my entire lifetime, from childhood to college. The wars have always felt endless, a constant news-feed of how we are pulling troops back then sending more troops in. Every year a different general or terrorist leader is killed in a fiery display of power, no doubt civilians hurt in the process. The next year, a new bad guy takes their place. It feels like we are stuck in an inevitable cycle of constant war, and just when it feels like the last one is starting to wind down, we’re ramping up to a new one.
On January 3, the United States killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was well-liked in Iran, and this action threatened our already strained relations in the region. If Iran wanted a reason to attack us, we certainly gave them one. This reckless action puts us closer to the brink of war with Iran, and some politicians seem far too eager to enter into another fight.
A war with Iran will no doubt lead to the destruction of countless lives, both American and Iranian and of any nation who finds themselves caught in the proximity. Even an offensive launched without ground troops certainly would result in loss of civilian life, a cost often neglected when weighing the impact our wars have left.
The saddest part is how futile the war will feel. Money and lives will be burned, maybe we’ll “win” and maybe we won’t, but will things actually improve for anyone? Will we somehow be safer? Will the Iranians, or the people in the region? It all feels so pointless, knowing how our last incursions into the region are playing out.
We should not be plunging ourselves into another war. There’s no honor in it at this point. My little brother was born after we entered Iraq and Afghanistan, so he genuinely has not had a minute of his life where we weren’t at war. I’d like to give him a breather, to let him see a world where we are at peace. We need our politicians and our media to support peace, not hawk for more conflict. We also need all of us to make our voices heard and do what we can to avoid more unnecessary conflict. Please.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.