as the five year anniversary to 9/11 approaches, the first thing that comes to mind is, "has it really been five years?" the second thing that comes to mind is the way the world is today. it's been an interesting five years, to say the least. lots of things have happened and lots of things have yet to happen.

the most notable, of course, is the ongoing iraq war. two days ago, a tragic bench mark was reached: officially, 2,974 united states service members have died in the war. this surpasses the total dead on 9/11, by 1 person. the news would be harder to take if it weren't put in to the context of iraqi civilian deaths, which is reported, unofficially, to be over 40,000 people. with regards to canadian casualties in afghanistan, that number reached 33 yesterday when another soldier was killed as a result of friendly fire which also caused thirty other soldiers to be wounded. now this may not be a lot in terms of numbers, but considering we only have about 2200 troops in afghanistan, it's a big deal.

the goal here isn't to talk statistics, which is a gruesome enough matter as it is, but the question is, are things better now? for the iraqi people? that's up in the air for the moment. for americans? well, the bush administration released a report saying that the united states was safer, but not yet safe, thereby simultaneously comforting, yet freaking out the american polulation at the same time. it's a common tactic of the bush administration: keep the people scared so they stay the course. and what about us canadians? where do we stand? our international reputation isn't as strong as it used to be, our soldiers are dying in what may ultimately be a futile fight, and we seem to be constantly under foot of the big elephant that lives just across the border.

as for what the future holds? well, it is too early to decide how much "blow back" there will be from the iraq fiasco, but rest assured, if history is something to learn from, it is pretty much guaranteed that there will be some sort of blow back with how the u.s. government has fought the war on terror. early guess: a new generation of "terrorists." because if anything, the war in iraq has hurt the war on terror. by starting a war that didn't need to be started, the u.s. government diverted valued time and energy and resources, as well as creating a whole new batch of future terrorists.

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