How does the war on terror exemplify cowardice in action?

The definition of fear is “to feel afraid or anxious about a possible or probable situation or event”. Oftentimes fear and cowardice are intertwined yet in reality they have their differences. The soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are incredibly brave, but they also have fears. In America’s War on Terror, true examples of cowardice have been shown by Muslim extremists, and by the American government and even with soldiers themselves who seem to have forgotten what the war is being fought for.

In chapter one of The Things they Carried, Tim O’Brien discussed what soldiers carried physically and emotionally during wartime. One of the heaviest emotions that soldiers carried was fear. It wasn’t so much a fear of dying, as a fear of being afraid, of being a coward. They would often make fun of the “men” who shot themselves in the foot or hand to be sent home. Every soldier knew that he and every other soldier had fear in them, but to show it would be the worst act you could commit. Why is that? Showing fear is the equivalent of putting your guard down, and in war that’s not a good idea. If your guard is down you are vulnerable, which in turn leaves your unit vulnerable and exposed. When these men enter a war, they know there is a good chance they might die. Yet as Robert (an Iraqi war veteran) explained, the fear wasn’t if they were going to die, the fear was to have a limb blown off or be severely injured. If they had to live the rest of their lives with a handicap that would be worse then dying with honor. He explained “In the moments of driving over the landmines as these thoughts swam through their head,you’d light a cigarette and hope it would pass”. When driving over this mine infested stretch of land, one can only hope for the best.

The War on Terror was ignited by the 9/11 attacks of Muslim extremists among other things. Terrorists are some of the most extreme examples of cowards. One can argue that sacrificing yourself, knowing you will die, is not being a coward, but the reasoning behind it certainly is. Why these extremists are cowards is that they are afraid of others (in this case Americans). The terrorists didn’t like America and what it stood for, so they struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Though the deaths were plentiful, the real seed they planted was fear. Every American was now scared to fly, scared of what terrorists would do next, and in turn, scared of Muslims.

After these events occurred, George Bush and America responded by declaring war. Our country has now been in the Middle East for over 10 years fighting, yet according to writer Daniel Kurtzan, the reasons seem to have evolved. From an effort to root out Al Quaeda and other terrorists, to a war against Afghanistan, and more, America is not being fair to it’s people by giving the truth. Although it is very strange how the reason for war in “The War on Terror” has changed so much, one can even argue that we are there just for the oil. Why take control of a country for such a long time if it is so far away? Why give the Iraqi people freedom from their oppressive leader when several other countries have a similar situation? Iraq has something we want. It is ridiculous at how many families the war has displaced, and America is afraid to admit why.

The War on Terror has many reasons that it’s been fought. No matter how awful the terrorist acts that have been committed are, America didn’t respond in the best way they could. Both acted like cowards, and both have planted fear into citizens of the other’s country for cowardly reasons.