To mark 10 years since U.S. military troops invaded Iraq, a number of Bay Area residents are highlighting the war's impact. Cheryl Hurd reports.
To mark 10 years since U.S. military troops invaded Iraq, a number of Bay Area residents are highlighting the war's impact.
Casey Conklin, a member of the U.S. armed forces who served in Iraq says for him, it's a day to reflect.
"I think we had a difficult task in Iraq and I think that across all service branches we were able to adapt," Conklin said.
Adapt he says to what he and members of the 3rd Ranger Batallion /75th Ranger Regiment of the US Army had to deal with as they fought a war were thousands of people on both sides, lost their lives for freedom.
"I think we were able to succeed in what we wanted to do there," Conklin said.
Helping Iraqi's gain democracy was America's goal. The war started when then President George W. Bush declared that there were weapons of mass destruction.
None were found.
That's why San Francisco attorney D. Inder Comar says he is suing former President Bush, and members of his administration on behalf of an Iraqi refuge who fled to Jordan at the height of the war.
"I do believe we were mislead as citizens about the war and we got to do something about that cause if this was right and we were mislead, this will happen again and again and again," Comar said.
San Francisco State professor Sanjoy Banerjee says the Iraq war legacy will go down in history as being a bad idea.
"Decades ago we had learned lessons of Vietnam so the question is why did we need to learn many similar lessons once again," Banerjee said.
In San Francisco, a group of anti-war activists held a midday demonstration at the Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave.
Siri Margerin, of the Civilian-Soldier Alliance and Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the 10-year anniversary won't draw the crowds seen in 2003 when thousands marched and protested the military invasion.
Margerin said the groups she works with are calling for reparations for the Iraqi people from the U.S. government and increased health services for the soldiers who have returned.
She said Americans as a whole were sheltered from the effects of the war, and that when the war ended, many switched their focus to the economic crisis. However, for service members who served in Iraq, the crisis is "so far from over," she said.
President Barack Obama released a statement to mark the anniversary, honor the 1.5 million service members who served tours of duty in Iraq, and commemorate the nearly 4,500 American causalities. He said those service members "made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after many years of hardship."
The president said the effects of the war are ongoing, including for the roughly 30,000 wounded Americans back at home.
"On this solemn anniversary, we draw strength and inspiration from these American patriots who exemplify the values of courage, selflessness and teamwork that define our Armed Forces and keep our nation great," Obama said.
Bay City News contributed to this report.