One of the reasons the war in Iraq is still going on has to do with perception. But not only perception; most notably the perception of the majority populace. The power of the people is evident not only in a democracy but every form of government because in the end, they outnumber the politicians and run the nation. So what perceptions are fueling this war?
One of the perceptions deals with why the terrorists are attacking innocent civilians all over Iraq. In today's car bombing in Kufa that killed sixteen people left many wondering why they had to be targets. “We are poor people looking for anything to secure our livelihood and we have nothing to do with politics. Why do they do this to us?" said Firas Abdul-Karim, a wounded man from the explosion.
Unfortunately, he and everyone else around him have everything to do with politics. In his case, the terrorists would call them collateral damage. It is the theory of the terrorists, such as al-Qaeda, that if they attack the people, they will feel like the path they are on is not leading them anywhere safer. It is a strategy to turn the people against their government for not providing adequate protection. And in a nation rebuilding itself, that is not easy to do.
But the perception of the people from the Iraqis' perspective is one of two factors keeping this war in motion. They feel the pain on a daily basis and thus the healing can never fully begin. The fear is always in the back of their minds thus life cannot return to normal. They don't believe that their government is strong enough to protect them. And they continue getting blown back to square one, diminishing hope and moral.
The second factor here is the perception of the American people. America is no doubt the prime nation involved in the Iraq war other than Iraq itself. The reason the war is still going on is in part due to the fact that the American people have not voiced themselves loud enough to get the politicians, especially on the Republican side, to react. The polls will only go so far in convincing politicians.
Congress has approved over $609 billion since September 11, 2001 for the war on terror. And yet no one feels a tug on their pocket. This is because of the tax cuts of the Bush Administration and the no-spending limit on America's credit card a.k.a. our national debt. We don't feel the economic effects of war like we used to. There is no rationing going on or food stamps.
But the problem lies in future generations. Bush said in a speech, "This war started on my watch, but it's going to end on your watch." And that is more true than most things he's said during his presidency.
The fact is, when America needs to worry about social security, medicare, support for war veterans and so on, we are going to need to stick our hands into the cookie jar but this war will have drained everything out of it. This war was not meant to be paid for during this generation as a means of gaining support. If the American people's quality of life is not affected, then the war will go on mostly unnoticed. And so our children and our children's children will be paying out of their pockets for a war they never even lived through in the form of government program and funding cuts.
It was a sly move on the Bush Administration but they understood that ever since the Crimean War when the first reporters came back home with news from the front lines, that wars are fought only with the support of the people behind them. And the best way to keep up support for a war is to adjust the people's perception so that it doesn't even feel like a war is even going on at all. Unfortunately for the Iraqis, they're reminded every day at the cost of human lives.