In America we preach about justice for all but that is far from the truth. Everyone is equal under our flag of freedom but that freedom is not extended beyond our borders. We as a society believe in justice for all except non-Americans. 

On Feb. 26, Syria was bombed by American troops in retaliation to rocket attacks on American forces. The question must be asked: How much longer will we plague these foreign lands with our weapons of mass destruction and abuse our power as a military powerhouse? 

In 2001, America experienced one of the greatest tragedies in our nation’s history, 9/11. This attack saw thousands of innocent Americans murdered after planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania. 

There were countless Americans who were trapped within the building and met their demise at the hands of fire, and others who could only escape the fire by jumping to their death from windows of the buildings. 

9/11 shocked America and left us all scrambling to find out how to make sure it never happened again. From this arose the passage of policies that restricted immigration, created the Department of Homeland Security and expanded the no-fly list to include thousands of people. 

There was also a higher level of security enforced at airports across the country, changing the entire face of the travel industry. Along with this, America saw an increase in anti-Muslim violence by 67% within the U.S, according to FBI statistics. This left many people of Middle Eastern descent or of the Muslim faith scared for their own lives and those of family and friends. 

One of the most significant changes that stemmed from 9/11 was “the War on Terror,” which sought to eradicate terrorism on a local and national level by any means necessary. 

9/11 was a dark time in our history, but the actions taken by America following this attack are arguably significantly worse. Following 9/11, we invaded countless middle eastern countries and demolished everything in our path. According the New Yorker, American troops committed horrific war crimes including torture, physical abuse, rape and murder. Most of the troops were never punished for their crimes and most of these victims never received justice for all they endured. How much does a person’s dignity cost? And how do you give it back to them after they survive the American war regime or die at the hands of it? 

As displayed by articles in sources like Los Angeles Times and The Guardian, these acts occurred in people’s homes, the street, places of worship, job facilities and in prisons like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. 

No one was excused from the abuses of the American military, including men, women and children. Our country is also responsible for continuous bombings on other countries killing the guilty and innocent alike and therefore we are responsible. The blood on our hands is so thick it cannot be washed away. The War on Terror began in 2001, but it is still alive and breathing today in 2021. 

We have seen the presence of war on other countries under each of our last few presidents, and we must ask how many more presidents will continue this trend? What is the solution? What can be done to stop the bloodshed? 

According to Brown University, more than 800,000 people have died as a direct result of the wars in the Middle East; millions have perished indirectly as a result of the destruction of hospitals, infrastructure and environmental contamination, among other war-related problems. 

The seemingly limitless military funds that continue fueling these operations could be allocated to countless other aspects of our government and overall economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. military budget was a staggering $718 billion for 2020 alone. These funds could be used to improve education, increase widespread health care, provide resources to nonprofits and help assistance programs that benefit Americans across the country. But instead, America’s desire to kill continues to grow and ignore the morals our country is built upon. When will we move beyond this point in our history and begin to make progress toward a better world?

In America, there is a lack of transparency in the relationship between the government and the people. As a result, Americans are unaware of the realities of warfare and all that occurs when our troops are deployed. Our society would benefit from being informed of the reasoning behind these attacks on foreign soil and why this is the only solution. We know our government cannot always be trusted to protect our best interests or tell us the truth, so how can we take their word without the presence of transparency regarding all matters? 

There have been situations where our military has attacked the wrong target or bombed a place that did not house any of our enemies. Is that what occurred this time? Our government must do better in order for us to trust them again. Until that point, skepticism will continue to live within the hearts of Americans across the country. 

America is one of the most powerful societies, but we have become powerful by stripping others of their power. At what point are we no longer helping people break free from their oppressors but instead harming them beyond repair. How can we sleep at night knowing that people lost their lives today on account of our guns, bombs and hands? 

Even though it is ingrained in us to have American pride, we have to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge when we are in the wrong. While I wrote this article, I felt restraint because of my American pride that runs deep through my veins but even I can’t ignore the reality of all that America has done overseas.

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