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Mace & Crown | February 21, 2018

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“Iraqi Freedom” Comes to an End

By: Janah Stokes

“Today at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 4,427 American service members have died in Iraq, 3,502 of them killed in ac­tion; 34,265 have been wounded or injured,” said Robert Gates, U.S Defense Secretary. On Tues­day August 31, 2010, Operation Iraqi Freedom came to an end. Two hours before Operation Iraqi Free­dom was declared officially over, Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke about how effective the op­eration was. According to CNN’s Larry Shaughnessy, Gates deliv­ered an emotional speech explain­ing the hardships which American men and women in uniform had to face. He stresses the fact how the U.S military has many accom­plishments there but Iraq still isn’t well. His statement meant that the Al Qaeda in Iraq is beaten, but not gone. Gates believed that sending troops to Iraq over the course of three years served a purpose. He expressed how the U.S. would not have accomplished certain goals if they hadn’t sent as many troops.

The operation truly affected the troops but considering the number of casualties, it affected the nation as a whole. Heshyar Shamdeen, Iraq native and ODU sophomore said “I’m relieved that the troops finally left my country. They needed to let Iraq control their own country; the U.S. should have left Iraq way earlier.” When asked why he felt that way Shamdeen said, “They don’t know the Iraqi people the way Iraq natives know themselves. They were basically in the Iraqi government’s way when they were trying to settle their own problems.” Shamdeen didn’t feel any animosity towards U.S. troops for occupying his native country. He is relieved that his family in Iraq doesn’t have to deal with the American troops anymore, but he also understands why they were there in the beginning. “The Iraqi government was corrupt, the U.S. defeated Saddam Hussein, gave my people a base to work on and they controlled the violence which was frequently occurring.” he said, “They made peace but those prob­lems were settled four years ago. What I don’t understand is why did they continue to stay after they helped Iraq solve its major prob­lems?” That’s a question that will never get answered. Sophomore Christian Diaz who is a part of ODU’s ROTC program said. “Like everyone I know, I’m so glad it’s finally over because as a ROTC student I’m enrolling into the army right after college and now I know I don’t have to serve in Iraq,”

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