Lesson from Baghdad


With pictures of Michelle and kids in the background, President Obama sat erect in his chair for a much anticipated speech given to America.  While our troops will stay in Iraq for a little while, the Iraq War has ended.  Power and sovereignty will be given to the Iraqi people.  Can a country decimated by war develop and maintain stability in its borders?  Can a people who have lived under the rule of a dictatorship learn to thrive while terrorism invades its streets like George Washington did to the Hessians in the Battle of Trenton?  I am a very hopeful person, but I believe this new chapter in Iraq’s history will be extremely unsuccessful.  As I observe the Iraqis plunge into this venture, as a student, resident of South Jersey, and American, I wonder what we can learn from this experience.

History majors or really anyone who went to an American public school should remember the Monroe Doctrine instituted in the early 19th century.  In its essence, the doctrine stated that America’s and Europe’s influence should stay in each others own continent.  Years and years passed and future presidents like Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy gave credence to its importance.  Our country needs to put this doctrine back into place.

If we had adhered to the Monroe Doctrine, we never would have invaded Iraq.  Our countries are VERY different.  Prior to our invasion, the Iraqi people lived under a dictatorship.  We have a democracy form of government, which has served us well for over 200 hundred years.

Iraq is a country that parallels third world countries.  While it has a stake in the world’s oil market, its economy and educational systems are underdeveloped.  The rural population has a high illiteracy rate and some of the adult population has never attended


Our country places a lot of value on education.  Kids from a young age are taught to read and write.  College is available to everyone even if you cannot afford it.

While our country paid a price both monetarily and with human life, we can learn lessons from invading a foreign county.  Through learning lessons, we can bring meaning to the experience.  This is what Viktor Frankl talked about Man’s Search for Meaning.  Frankl learned to find meaning in his experience in Nazi War camp during WWII.

We all have to learn lessons in life.  It is a part of growing up.

The bottom line is that we should not invade another country and push our beliefs on it.  We have our own problems that need to be tended to.  We can start by figuring our more economical and efficient ways to meet our energy needs.  Our economy is on the mend.  Our government needs to give companies incentives to say in the country, which will provide additional jobs.  We need to focus on becoming self sufficient.  I am not opposed to foreign trade, but are we not able to build some of our own stuff here?  Do we not have our own oil here?  Better yet, how about we make cars that do not require so much gasoline?  It would be nice to fill up my tank for 10 bucks instead of 30.  Let us continue to work on our own country and stay out of the troubles of other countries as President Monroe stated in his Monroe Doctrine.


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  1. frank ascolese jr on

    i agree with this piece fully and support the ideas that we have enough problems here take care of and you can not go around the planet pushing out own ideologies. We can not be the world police.

  2. I agree with all said here, but the Monroe Doctrine was abandoned long before Iraq. At times for good reason (WW2) at times for bad (Liberia), but the lesson learned is that we should be careful when we meddle in others affairs unless we truly understand the consequences. I’m not sure the neocons even knew how to read.

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