by Analicia Cass/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Private Jacob Ramey, picture taken after his graduation from boot camp in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The War on Terror, while it may be mentioned a lot in America, is a subject that many people may not fully understand. Many others may also not realize how the war affects a soldier’s family.
The War on Terror was declared by President George W. Bush after the horrific happening of the 9/11 terrorist attack, as the United States was left stunned from the outcome of the attack. President Bush wanted to make sure terrorists knew the U.S. wouldn’t stand for it nor would they let it hurt their patriotism. The declaration of war was aimed towards the end of terrorism in America, specifically the group al Qaeda. The terrorists were in a few countries in the Middle East already, so the idea was to stop it before it spread out even more.
Although we were triumphant over al Qaeda, another well known group came to light, ISIS. There are many other smaller terrorist groups in the Mid-East, too. Our attempts of abolishing terrorism are far from complete, but we will continue to fight against it until it is terminated. Even if that means gaining help from unlikely sources.
The old saying goes: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The U.S. is using this as one of their tactics against terrorism. U.S. troops have made accommodations with the Taliban to help rid the Mid-East, and everywhere for that matter, of ISIS. The Taliban is working in Iran to create a buffer zone where ISIS cannot go to war in Iran. “Iran has contributed troops, weapons and funds to counter ISIS since the jihadists’ lightning advance in 2014, making it a reluctant, yet effective partner of the U.S,” wrote Newsweek writer Tom O’Connor in a July 10 article, “U.S., Iran, Syria and Russia finally agree: Iraq’s victory over ISIS praised around the world.”
Due to recent events in Afghanistan, political action has taken place. The biggest non-nuclear bomb the US has was dropped on ISIS, ordered by Pres. Trump. He said that he is determined to end the war in Afghanistan “by committing more US troops” to the cause, according to an Au. 22 Telegraph article, “Donald Trump commits more US troops to Afghanistan and calls on Britain to follow suit.” He has called upon the United States’ NATO allies, such as Great Britain, to increase their troop numbers the same as the U.S. Trump’s bold decisions have upset some, but made others more comfortable with their loved ones being overseas in the Mid-East.
Many of our own students here at GC have a family member, a friend, or a significant other in the military. Although not all soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan, the students are all still affected in some way.
Cole Gwin, 10, has both his father and brother in the military. “My house is fairly empty and it leaves my mom to deal with most of our problems alone,” he said.
Having not one, but two family members in the military makes a change in the overall function of the household. Ethan Kile, 12, has a brother and soon-to-be brother-in-law in the military. Kile says, “Active duty often gets in the way of family functions, it is weird not seeing them there.”
Not having a close family member with you at family outings can be difficult at times. Even though the soldiers are gone, their families still have a somewhat hard time adapting to the changes. After acclimating with the soldier not being there, the families must get used to the lack of contact.
The families don’t usually get to see or even contact their soldier often. The soldiers only have so much time when they are able to talk. Gwin said, “Hypothetically I can talk to them whenever I need to, although talking in person is a few times a month, sometimes less.” Not seeing or speaking to a family member for months can, at times, be challenging. The same goes for soldiers who are across seas that aren’t able to speak with their family or friends as much as they used to.
Private Jacob Ramey is a former student at Greenfield-Central who decided to go into the infantry in the army after graduation. Ramey said the separation from family is tough. “The lack of talking to family brings down the morale around here.” When a soldier doesn’t speak to their family and friends for extended amounts of time it can make them feel isolated.
When troops are in war torn countries, the government must have a plan to keep them safe while achieving the goal of them being there. Ramey said, “Our plan is just to push ISIS back to Pakistan so we don’t have to worry about them being in Afghanistan.” The idea is to push ISIS into Pakistan and prevent them from going over into Iran. Iran and the Taliban have teamed up in some ways to get rid of ISIS, creating a buffer zone that prevents the violent terrorists from going into Iran.
Gwin stated, “While the cause is something we need to pursue, after so long, this way of going about it can not continue without revision.” The new plan of just pushing ISIS back is a revised one, as for how well it’ll work in the long run, it cannot be anticipated.
The War on Terror, which is mostly centered in Afghanistan at this time, has been ongoing for the past 16 years. “There are currently around 6,000 US troops on ground in Iraq and Syria, according to Military Times, though even that number does not tell the whole story since the Pentagon assigns troops to the region on a ‘temporary’ basis that does not contribute to its total count,” wrote Business Insider writer, Paul Szoldra. With this many troops in war torn countries, it’s difficult not to be concerned about the War on Terror. The war is still a serious one, however it is doesn’t have the attention it used to. The ongoing war has changed over time and has escalated in different ways due to technological advances. The need for troops in these Middle Eastern areas affects the soldiers and their families in many ways.