As military families, we rejoice when any troops come home, and we are relieved our loved ones will never again be deployed to Iraq. However, we know that the war is not really over, not for military families, not for veterans, and not for the people of Iraq. It is not over for families with loved ones who will leave Iraq only to be redeployed to Afghanistan. For the families whose loved ones never returned from Iraq, or who took their own lives, or who returned with significant physical and psychological wounds, it will never really be over.
The people of Iraq will still be faced with private U.S. military contractors and years of rebuilding their country. In Iraq, it is not just the military but the entire country that will have to deal with the physical and psychological wounds of war. To add insult to injury, Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta recently announced that 40,000 troops will stay “in the region,” meaning the U.S. could easily have troops back on the ground in Iraq at any time.
There is still a lot of work to be done, and the voices of military families are more important than ever. We must continue working for an end to the war in Afghanistan, for better treatment of our service members, and for proper care for all veterans. We must hold our government accountable and continue to speak out.
As always, we say: “Bring ALL the troops home now, and take care of them when they get here!”