by Steven Hale
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the start of The Iraq War. The prolonged debacle was premised on the idea that Saddam Hussein was stashing apocalyptic weapons in some dark corner of his kingdom, but for eight years, eight months and three weeks, it turned out that our war itself was the only Weapon of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
A decade later, I am not in much of a position to adequately sum up one of the longest wars in American history (shorter only than Vietnam, and the one still ongoing in Afghanistan). I was 14 when American forces invaded Iraq in 2003. I remember watching Shock and Awe — the cable-news-ready name of the initial assault — on CNN with my dad, and believing we must be going to get the bad guys. Like nearly all of us, I have never served in the military. The closest I ever felt to the bloody conflict was watching it begin between commercial breaks. I doubt mine is a unique experience.
The occasion was marked today in Iraq by a wave of bombings that killed 65 people and left more than 240 wounded. A devastatingly fitting event on the 10th anniversary of the start of a war that claimed the lives of 4,488 Americans, and, according to conservative estimates, over 150,000 Iraqis.
Among the fallen were 97 Tennesseans. Airman First Class Christoffer P. Johnson, 20, from Clarksville. First Lieutenant Andrew K. Stern, 24, of Germantown. Army Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon of Memphis.
The list goes on and on.