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SERWAN ZANGANA: American Families Receive Body Bags, Politicians Receive Fat Paychecks

While recently browsing through some old pictures from my time serving as a U.S Army interpreter back in 2004 in Iraq, a thought came to my mind. No doubt, it was an honor to be part of such a great army under distinguished leaders and defending human freedom. It definitely takes courage to be a U.S soldier. 

Every service member serves under one flag and stands respectfully during the National Anthem. The men and the women of the U.S military are examples of the best-trained, disciplined, and firm individuals in the world. Such a military deserves ethical and loyal commanders in order to operate in the best way across the world.

But now I believe that involving the U.S military in many unnecessary operations and conflicts in the world only adds burdens on the soldiers and serves no just cause. We must question the legitimacy of losing the life of an American soldier overseas. Regardless of the party affiliation, most of the politicians are financially benefiting from wars while the soldiers are losing their lives.

Losing the life of an American soldier abroad in far East Africa fighting a terrorist group like Al-Shabab, a Somalian terrorist group, or conducting  military operations against some drug cartels in South America will only bring agony to American families. These actions do not legitimize American sacrifices, while our own nation is surrounded by broken border security. The hoax of defending America abroad in some dark corners of the world must come to end as the blood of Americans is definitely more valuable than to be needlessly shed on foreign terrain. 

The techniques of the politicians effectively control the majority of people in society. Many of our leaders decorate and define wars in the form of defending a cause but in most cases it is only manipulation and deception to fool the “herd.”  As George Orwell the author of 1984 said, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”

One unfortunate example was the involvement of former Vice President Dick Cheney (R) with Halliburton Corporation (KBR). The US government granted Halliburton contracts worth billions of dollars and that benefited Cheney financially during the Iraq war in 2003. “When I took my oath of office it said that you will conduct the business of contracting impartially … and with preferential treatment toward none. I saw preferential treatment toward KBR,” the highest ranked civilian at the U.S Army Corp said as reported by CBS News. 

Furthermore, based on a report from The American Prospect in 2020, 51 members of the House of Representatives and their spouses own between $2 to 5 million in stocks of defense contractors. 

Frankly, defending liberty and democracy should be limited to America and the citizens of the United States. No other nation deserves to be a grave for American soldiers as they should not take the last breath far from their families. 

Constantly,  I am recalling my memories and thinking about the days and nights in what was called the Red Zone and living under mortar attacks. While those brave soldiers were encountering the insurgents and attempting to dodge bullets and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the politicians in Washington were signing fat business contracts. While American families were receiving the bodies of their loved ones, the politicians were receiving extra paychecks! 

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator beforecoming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.


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