Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas in Iraq
--Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent

U.S. troops just spent their fifth Christmas in Iraq since the war began in 2003. .
But it's easy to forget the troops have actually now been there for 18 consecutive Christmases.

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the event that kicked off two wars and the no fly zones, occurred in August 1990. It has been so long since American troops have been in the Persian Gulf region in large numbers, that today's 18 year old American GI would have been an infant when this all began.

A gallon of gas averaged $1.16 in 1990; the population of the United States was 20 percent less than today; the Berlin Wall had just come down a few months before. For the United States, what's going on in Iraq is not just a war. It has become an era.
Posted By CNN: 12:59 PM ET
  5 Comments
Gary,
I'm really thankful for all that our soldiers do. It is sad that they have to be away from their families on every holiday or special occasion. I hope they all had a great Christmas no matter where they were! I just hope that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can be atleast brought to a stable enough place that alot of our soldiers can go home. It's foolish to think they all can leave at once but atleast some can get home to be with their families and to rest.

I hope you had a great Christmas also!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 1:21 PM ET
I was in my last semester of undergrad work in August 1990. I remember that first conflict like it was yesterday. I never understood fear until I hugged one of my best friends right after he told me he was going off to fight in this war. And then it was another friend, and then another. We tied yellow ribbons and held prayer vigils and fasted for their safe return. Some of those same men went back to both places after 9/11. We tied ribbons, burned candles, held prayer vigils, and fasted again. One didn't survive this time. Part of me understands honor and duty and freedom for all people and making the ultimate sacrifice they all did. Part of me says their families and friends should have had them home for the holidays, not just their memories. I sometimes wonder if we ever won't be a presence in the Middle East. Then again, I think we should be. We have an obligation to keep people free from harm wherever they may be however long it takes (even if it is an era). If we truly are our "brother's keepers", we have no choice. Our volunteer military gets that. My friend was willing to give up his life for that. It's just a shame that some members of Congress and the war naysayers don't comprehend the concept.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 2:20 PM ET
Dear Gary,

On Christmas Day I thought about our troops who are away from their families during this holiday season; we should all take time to think about them and the sacrifices that they have made and are still making today. Thank you for mentioning them.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our troops for their sacrifices and to wish them Happy Holidays!

Unfortunately, you are right, for the United States our presence in Iraq has become an era, but what has it really accomplished? It hasn't really even made a difference in controlling the price of oil. Unfortunately, as George Bush has insinuated recently, we will probably be in the Middle East indefinitely. Sadly, today's infants will probably find themselves fighting and dying in the same types of battles in the Middle East that are being fought today.

Best wishes and happiness in the New Year to you and your family!

Jo Ann
North Royalton, Ohio
Posted By Blogger Jo Ann : 2:46 PM ET
An era in the Middle East seems like a blink of an eye compared to the length of time we have maintained troops in Korea (1950s), Germany (1940s) and other places. While I recognize that we need to assist other countries who have problems with stability I also wonder who made us the policeman of the world? When do we start looking after ourselves and repairing our crumbling infrastructure, etc?

I work with young women who are in high school and the beginning years of college. They have never known a time when we weren't at wor or standing guard someplace in the world. We used to say "give peace a chance" but have we ever really had any peace to know wat it is?

Annie Kate
Birmngham AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 5:17 PM ET
Hi Jamie,
The soldiers that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have my tremendous gratitude. They are sacrificing their lives and the lives of their families to keep us safe and I appreciate it greatly. I hope they are all safe and that they know how appreciated they really are.
Posted By Blogger pamina : 6:05 PM ET
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