This poignant story brings home the point of how long the invasion of Iraq has dragged on. In the spring of 2003, this blogger was a sophomore in high school. He writes:
We were supposed to be welcomed as liberators. The war was fast and efficient, the barely existent military forces of Iraq were defeated as the coalition forces made their way to Baghdad. I remember the famous clip on live TV of the Iraqiâ€™s pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Those were the good old days of the war. The years to follow would be slow, painful, and expensive. I supported the war without really giving a second though to why. Thatâ€™s what all the other â€˜conservativesâ€™ were calling for, so it seemed like the right thing to do.
The war continued on into Senior year with no signs of a withdrawal. Every day casualties would be reported, much like they are still. All this while shaky and messy political processes were going on, and alas, to this day, not much progress has really occurred. But the mood switched from watching the events closely, to a sort of disconnection with what was happening. We all knew it was going on, but pushed it to the back of ours minds and just continued on with our daily lives. This was the case for most, especially ignorant high school kids, though of course not for those who were receiving letters, or getting that knock on the door, from the military.
Freshman year came, and despite going to a very liberal college, and the stereotype of college students turning liberal, my thoughts were unchanged on the war. My view on it was tweaked, and followed a lot of mainstream â€˜conservativesâ€™. Yes, it wasnâ€™t done well, and we werenâ€™t prepared for the post-Saddam era, but it was worth it to remove that madman, and now we need to clean up the mess.
The next year, sophomore year, which was fall 2006 to spring 2007, this past year, was the most important. Looking at the Republican choices likely to run for president, I quickly became a â€œRudy-guyâ€ because he was conservative on many (sort of) issues, from the same state I was, and had a tough stance on terrorism. Then I switched around September to Fred Thompson, even though he wouldnâ€™t declare his candidacy for another year. He was similar to Rudy in regards to Iraq and terrorism, and was well known from movie and TV roles.
From sophomore in high school to sophomore in college, this blogger remained in the neocon prowar camp. So, what happened to change his mind?
I spent the later months of winter wondering â€œwhat now?â€ for what I was to do with my views on politics and candidates. I didnâ€™t agree with the Democrats plans for spending and social programs, and the Republicans proved to be shallow and not even conservative with spending and war. The historic conservative position is to be anti-war. I was hesitant to discuss the war. How can one be a Republican and not be for the war? Who ever heard of such a thing?
Another turning point came in April, and especially May. The first big debate of the 2008 Republican primary season came in May, a debate at the Reagan Library, and it was a big debut for Ron Paul. He had the courage to go on stage in front of a possibly hostile crowd, and proclaim to the country that it was OK to be a conservative and be against this needless war.
So much has happened since then. The election cycle is heating up, and a paradigm shift is now in play. Republicans are coming out in increasing number saying they do not support this war. The success of Ron Paul recently is forcing a shift towards more constitutional and libertarian values. To think, if Paul had said any of these things during the 2002 or 2004 elections, he wouldâ€™ve been laughed off the stage. Sure, he hasnâ€™t gotten a good reception from the pro-war Republicans, and the process of convincing them will be hard, but the position that you can oppose the war and be a conservative now has grounding, and perhaps that is a reason why so many â€˜conservativesâ€™ are now annoyed with him.
Being someone who has seen both sides of the aisle, the â€œneoconsâ€ as many call them, and the anti-war Republicans, I have found that the neocon path was the more mindless one. My views were dominated by what the media was spewing out, and they all wanted this war. I didnâ€™t think for myself much during that time, and when I did I just felt indifferent. This is not an issue one can feel indifferent for.
Now the attention has turned towards Iran. Sean Hannity is giving his list of reasons to attack them nightly on Hannity & Colmes. All the â€˜conservativesâ€™ are calling for military action. Whether they get what they want again or not, I will rest knowing that their numbers will be at least one fewer this time.