Obama’s State of the Union this year was very interesting. He spoke about the economy and about immigration, but what struck me the most was his mention of the military in Afghanistan and the security of the United States. This reminded me of the State of the Union that President Bush gave back in January of 2002, right after the attacks on the twin towers.
George W. Bush also spoke about the military at that time. In fact, most of his speech was about the security of America and Afghanistan, given that it happened right after 9-11. At this point, America was completely terrified because of the attacks and a bit even zealous because of the resentment brewing towards the terrorists that were responsible for that fear. President Bush launched the “War on Terror” against any countries harboring or giving any aid to terrorists. After this, Bush spoke about the terrorists and the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. This triggered the war in Afghanistan, which is still going on today. It’s really ironic how when he spoke about this, he was really confident about it. He made it seem like the country would get over this really quickly. They’d go in, “destroy terrorism”, and come out without any harm. This was completely untrue as we can see today. Obama mention in his State of the Union in 2014 that they are still in Afghanistan. It’s been about 12 years and the war that seemed to be quick and easy is still going on, even today. President Obama said that over 60,000 have been removed from Afghanistan and more will be coming back to put an end to the war. He said “With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.” Its even more ironic how the war in Afghanistan started off to end terror and in a way, to punish the terrorists that attacked the United States, as said by President Bush and now, its become a war to protect Afghanistan. Obama said that now that Afghanistan is stepping up, the US can step back. The war started off as an act of “revenge” and of “justice” and slowly, its become more of just American’s invasion of Afghanistan and how they were trying to “protect” the country from itself.
Both President Bush and Obama also talked about Iran. President Bush in his 2002 SOTU said that ‘Iran, Iraq, and North Korea are all “axis of evil”. This is because at that time, they all had some sort of nuclear development in their countries. President Bush said “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” Keep in mind that at this point, America was not in a state of war with Iraq. However, this accusation that President Bush placed on Iraq and Iran was the beginning of the kick start of the war against Iran. Then, next year, United States went to war with Iraq. So, this statement that President Bush made against Iraq showed the tension brewing between the United States and all the other countries who dared to do something that the United States wasn’t fond of like pursuing chemical and nuclear weapons. So we went to war with Iraq to “disarm the countries and to promote world peace”. In turn, this war to promote world peace and security cost us hundreds of thousands of lives and lasted 10 years. In his State of the Union in 2014, President Obama said that when he joined, there were over 180,000 troops at war and now, they just removed all the troops from Iraq. There was no mention of how people many people died in the war with Iraq. He didn’t include the fact that from March of 2003 to June 2011, there were over 500,000 deaths as the direct or indirect result of the war in Iraq ALONE. It is really ironic and ridiculous how the war for peace and the war on “terror” that we are fighting or “fought” ended up killing hundreds and thousands of lives of innocent troops and even of innocent civilians for the cost of the lives of a few people that were “spreading terror”.
I felt that both of the State of the Unions addressed security and it felt to me that this huge period of time, we are just ending the war that killing so many lives and actually took away peace, rather than providing it. I chose these two scenarios to show how much times have changed, yet our attitudes still remain to “save humanity” and to “promote peace”, that even Obama mentioned in his SOTU. He even said that nothing can stand between our security, not terrorists – nothing. It shows the measures we’re willing to take to protect ourselves from what we don’t know.