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Sharp Left Ahead: Economy unable to support returning troops

After nine years, almost 4,500 deaths of U.S. soldiers, tens of thousands more Iraqi lives and $1 trillion, we can now say the Iraq War has ended.

A great sense of uncertainty remains about the Iraqi government and, furthermore, what will happen to our returning troops.

Regardless of whether we should withdraw troops, we don’t actually have a choice.

During the Bush administration, the president signed a Status of Forces Agreement binding the U.S. to withdraw all forces by the end of 2011.

The New York Times asked Iraqi citizens how they felt about the U.S. withdrawal, and consensus is that Iraq will fall apart without the U.S. mainly because Iraq has no government.

Make no mistake, Obama wants to stay in Iraq, but he can’t anymore: Iraq wants the U.S. out, but that won’t stop Obama from boasting about the end of the Iraq War.

The Iraq War, now 9 years old, started when most of us were in elementary school.

At the height of the war, 170,000 troops were sent to Iraq, many of them on multiple tours away from their families for months and years at a time, with more troops in Afghanistan as well.

It would be hard to find a student today who hasn’t been affected by the war, whether it’s a personal friend who volunteered to serve our country, a family that serves at home by staying strong in the face of fear, or a community that comes together to mourn the loss of a loved one.

Now, 41,000 troops are coming home to a crippled economy and a 8.6 percent unemployment rate.

The question is: How are we going to take care of our troops who have sacrificed so much to serve our country?

When I was in elementary school, my best friend’s brother, Ben, was considering joining the military. He had mostly made up his mind to join, but then he spoke with my dad.

My dad said he had seen a similar situation play out during the Vietnam War: They promise many benefits but can’t follow up.

I’ve seen many of my former classmates join the military as immature boys and come out better men.

It’s really quite astonishing how well-mannered and respectful our men and women of the military are, and I think they deserve more credit than they receive.

The military isn’t right for everyone, but whether or not you agreed with the war, we have to take care of our soldiers coming home.

The way the economy is going, military spending is going to take a bit of a dive. If that happens, we have to make sure our soldiers still receive the proper care they need in and out of the war zone.

As our brave service men and women start to come home from this tragedy of a war, let’s show them we care and truly appreciate everything they have sacrificed by showing them kindness.

During my dad’s calling hours, my best friend from elementary school told me, “I wish I could thank your dad for saving my brother’s life.”

William Hoffman is a freshman studying journalism and political science and a columnist for The Post. Email him your thoughts about the Iraq War at

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