Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta visited Iraq on Thursday, December 15, 2011 and officially declared an end to the war there – and after almost 9 years of fighting, 4,487 US troops lives being lost, 30,000 or more being wounded, and over 800 billion dollars of tax payer’s money being spent, I have only one question…WAS IT REALLY WORTH IT??  What did we as Americans gain from this war?  I know many of you have asked yourself that question as well, and I still haven’t come up with a suitable answer.  What I do know is the strain this war has inflicted on our military and their families.  I know most of our Armed Services men and women would never complain about a mission and the effects of it, but what about their families??  The kids whom parents’ missed their first steps.  The parents who missed their kids’ little league games.  The son who wanted his dad there when he drove his first car, or the daughter who just wanted her mom present when she had her first heartbreak.  Those and a number of other memories are now lost.  Not to mention the kids whose parents never returned from battle.  I know some of you will say that’s the sacrifice of war and we have to make those sacrifices so this country can be more safe.  But how much more safe are we??  The Iraq war didn’t stop other countries’ hatred of America…and I know this because of the numerous accounts of various groups still trying to plan attacks on this country.  So how safe are we really?  I guess that’s just a matter of your own interpretation.  But I’m not naive, I know war is a part of the world we live in.  But a war that has cost us so many casualties, a war that’s going to cost so much more in health care for our wounded, a war that has already cost this country 800 billion dollars in tax payer dollars…and all of these expenditures are occurring when we ourselves are going through a recession.  American citizens are homeless and don’t have a clue where their next meal is coming from.  We have Americans occupying our streets.  So again, my question would be…WAS IT REALLY WORTH IT??  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!!