Peter Alter
Peter Alter
Chicago History Museum

Should the United States military be fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq?


The Union (the North) fought the Confederacy (the South) during the Civil War (1861-1865) so that the United States would stay one country—united.  Some Oglala Lakota and other American Indian activists fought the federal government at Wounded Knee in 1973 to protect their rights. For many of us, today, these two bloody armed conflicts might seem fairly clear cut. But what about the armed conflicts of our own times?

Currently, the United States military fights in both Afghanistan and Iraq. My brother-in-law, who’s in the Air Force, served in Iraq a few years ago. You might even have friends or family currently serving in one or both of these wars. 

In both Afghanistan and Iraq, our military is fighting the War on Terror, but it is hard to see the end when our troops can come home and be safe. Yet, especially since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. is in danger from terrorist attacks. Do you think the United States should be fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq? I bet you’ll come up with some interesting answers.


Discussion closed on November 29, 2011

Closing Statement

By the end of 2011, the United States plans to pull most of its troops out of Iraq, but the troops in Afghanistan are still there.

Many of you voiced serious and legitimate concerns about American involvement in both countries. A lot of you agreed with Diego S. who wrote, “We are only breaking the hearts of our mothers and with no way to ever fix it.” Many who take a stance against war point out the great loss of life that results from it.  Anti-Vietnam protestors in the 1960s and 1970s, for example, often mentioned death tolls of both U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers.

Maggie H. and Haley K. both had some interesting thoughts about trying to help without resorting to violent intervention. Often after natural disasters in other countries, like the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the U.S. sends troops or other kinds of assistance to help with relief efforts, but not to fight. Perhaps that is an alternative for our government. 

Thanks for participating, and keep thinking about these important questions!


Brianne S, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:34am

I don't think so because it's just for the oil. If we look logically at ourselves, we have more than enough problems in our own country, instead of causing other problems in other places, we should focus on those FIRST. I don't agree with the war, because of the current state of our economy, and where our troops are at this moment, this shouldn't be put on the back burner until it suits us, but rather dealt with initially so we can do a better job for the alleged "War on Terror" that we began. This is a very controversial subject, and this is my side of this subject. Whether you agree with me or not, this is MY opinion. I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this. :)

Diego S, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:05am

Honestly, i don't know why we're still over there! Why are we trying to take control of the government, we lost our cause years ago. Why can't we just mind our business. We are only breaking the hearts of our mothers and with no way to ever fix it.

Matthew G, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:34am


Diego S, 9th

November 08, 2011 - 09:17am

I was just thinking, how can we leave these countries in such despair and without a strong government to insure our time there wasn't in vain and that our cause ther shall not perish from the earth. Well i just answered my own question.

Diego S, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:19am

sorry i clicked 9th grade ITS 8TH GRADE. SORRY everyone!

Maggie H, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:26am

Diego, I agree with both your comments of staying out of it and not to leaving them. My solution would to be to try and help them but without the physical force of violence.

Haley K, 8th

November 08, 2011 - 09:34am

i agree. Violence is NOT the answer and doesn't solve anything.