Disclaimer: I'm Canadian.
Let's be honest. Not a single soldier involved in this "war on terror" is actually defending America. The 9/11 terrorists were all from Saudi Arabia. So of course, you went to war with Afghanistan, and then later (under the premise of weapons of mass destruction)' Iraq.
Why has there not been any diplomatic initiatives with Saudi Arabia? And regarding the soldiers, there has not been any coordinated attack on the US since 9/11. So I'm not sure how sending them overseas is "defending us".
As we all know now, it turned out that Iraq did not actually have any weapons of mass destruction. Nor did the war eradicate al quada.
Meanwhile, North Korea has actually detonated 2 nuclear bombs. Last time I checked, nuclear bombs were weapons of mass destruction. And yet, the US is not making any moves at all to attack north Korea.
Is it because North Korea doesn't have any oil? Anyone have any non-cynical explanation?
First let me point out the obvious - This thread has gone way off topic but your post demands a response so I'm making it.
Any man or woman who voluntarily enlists in military service in any country should be given the utmost respect. They are willing to put their lives on the line for their country and they are doing it by choice
. The US military is entirely a volunteer service. No one is required to serve by law. Therefore they command some respect from our citizens no matter where they are sent in the line of duty. My guess is that those of you from other countries would feel the same about those serving in your armed forces. It has nothing to do with whether they're "defending" anything. It has to do with the fact that they're serving.
As to the rest of this post, my first reaction on 9/11/2001 as I was watching the events unfold on TV was that it was an act of war - not a terrorist act. It felt to me much like my parents described their feelings on 12/7/1941 (Pearl Harbor). The NYC attack was worse than Pearl Harbor because it was not against a military base, it was against a civilian office building. People died that day whose only offense was getting up and going to work. Frankly the feeling was that someone needed to PAY and PAY BIG.
How would you have felt if the attack was on an office building in Toronto or Montreal?
That's the emotional side of things. On the practical side a decisive response would have been easy if the perpetrators of the attack had been wearing the uniforms of a foreign nation. The US could just declare war on said nation and no one in the world would have disagreed.
Let me be clear - war is never a good thing for anyone. However, when your country is attacked and people are slaughtered a response is required.
The problem was/is that there was no nation that could be fingered. (Bin-Laden is Saudi but to my knowledge has not operated within Saudi Arabia for many years.) So the US government had to find out where these guys were and then take the fight to them. Did they succeed? No. Could he be in Saudi Arabia? Somalia? France? Canada? Right here in the US? Sure. He could be anywhere in my opinion.
Would the rest of the world (or even people in this country) accept it if the President of the United States pointed to another country in the world and said, "He's there and we're going to get him whether you like it or not!" Probably not. That's the real problem. No single nation can wage a war on terror any better than it can wage a war on drugs. If terrorism or illegal drug trafficking are going to be ended it's going to require an ongoing coordinated international effort to do it. It's been nine years since the attack and the guy that most people would agree was behind it can't be found. On an emotional level I still feel that until he's dead or rotting in solitary confinement in a prison somewhere, there's still unfinished business.
I can't really respond to the Iraq campaign. I never really understood the decision making on that. I don't know of many people who feel that they do. In my opinion the issue of "WMDs" should have been tackled by the UN - forcefully. The second inspection teams were kicked out of the country there should have been a response. That didn't happen and our former President somehow felt it was his job to do something. Like I said, I don't really understand it. I do think it was idiotic to go in there without a solid exit strategy. GWB was never really known for his intellect though. I'll also tell you that I would have practically danced for joy if Bin-Laden had been found in the bunker with Hussein. Then I would at least feel that the end justified the means.
As for Korea - That's a country everyone in the world should be concerned about. Policing this kind of thing is what the UN was supposed to be for. Are they doing anything? No. Is any country willing to do anything about their nuclear program or their recent aggression? Apparently not. There is a treaty between the US and South Korea to aid them in the case of any attacks from North Korea. I'm pretty sure if North Korean troops cross the DMZ or anything else more severe than the recent artillery exchange occurs, the treaty will be honored and the US will get involved. I hope it doesn't happen.
From my perspective all of this boils down to the fact that in our country people like me and the others posting on this forum don't make the military decisions. That's done by the our elected officials, namely the President. Once those people are elected the decisions are theirs. We can question his decisions, disagree with them, protest them, etc. We can vote for a different person in the next election. We can't change the decisions though. What I can and will always do is give my support to those men and women who enlisted in the military voluntarily and who carry out their duty. I might disagree with the decisions that sent them there, but they are in harm's way serving what someone believes are the best interests of their country.