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Monday, November 29, 2021

Columns

The people of Iraq still suffer as war rages in Mosul


The Iraq War has been a part of America’s past for quite some time.

Despite the sparse media coverage since President Barack Obama’s decision to pull troops out of the crippled country, its people continue to suffer and die — this time at the hands of ISIS.

Mosul, Iraq has become the site of a major military offensive led by the Iraqi army. Now, a U.S. soldier has died in Iraq, and thousands of people continue to be displaced by the fighting that began after ISIS took over the city in 2014.

This offensive, with the help of U.S. forces, has brought together more than 54,000 Iraqi troops and 40,000 coalition forces. Meanwhile, roughly 600,000 people remain to watch and potentially be victims of the carnage occurring around them.

Life in a war zone

After years of tyranny under Saddam Hussein, Iraq went through a war started by former President George Bush’s claim of potential weapons of mass destruction. Soon after U.S. presence left Iraq, terrorist groups quickly discovered how easy it would be to take over a country that had just seen decades of poverty, death and torment.

The Battle for Mosul is a stark reminder that the war in Iraq has not stopped for one moment since we left. It has gotten worse because ISIS has thrived without the presence of U.S. forces to protect the innocent people of Iraq.

Most people have forgotten about the war that took the lives of thousands of soldiers, civilians and the country it took place in. I can almost guarantee you that many Iraqis still remember us and continue to dream about the day when the broken government that has left them destitute and starving is repaired.

The people of Iraq do not deserve this. They are like you and I, for the most part. Unlike us, however, they live in a place with almost no hope for peace and prosperity in the near future.

Children wake up every day in a house made of cardboard, surrounded by decades of trash that has made cities in Iraq look like landfills. This is on top of a terrible economy where there is no shot at making a living wage or having a steady job.

On top of all this, there’s a terrorist organization that wants to kill anyone who opposes them running rampant without anyone to protect the innocent.

Pay more attention

I know this fight is necessary to liberate the people of Mosul from ISIS. It is important, though, to remember that despite our unwillingness to care there are still innocent people in Iraq who are suffering and need our help.

There are nearly 5,000 U.S. service members in Iraq that have been brought in to help the Iraqi army and coalition forces with logistics, training and special operations.

More people are expected to flee Mosul as the offensive continues. Despite the expected large numbers, the U.N. can only accommodate a few. Many, then, have no options for refuge.

“With no safe routes out for civilians and the city under now heavy attack, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are at extreme risk of being caught in the crossfire, shot at by snipers as they attempt to flee, or of coming under attack in their own homes,” said Karl Schembri, the Norwegian Refugee Council‘s regional media adviser in the Middle East.

Take a moment and discover that there is a world outside of this campus — one that is raging in war and suffering.

The least you can do is acknowledge that there is something going on and keep yourself informed. The more people who know about the crisis, the higher the chance that people will care enough to make real changes to help innocent Iraqis.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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