ORCUTT, Calif. - The Scenes of widespread bloodshed and chaos in Iraq at the hands of Al-Qaeda terrorist insurgents is tough to watch for those who's loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom over the past decade.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa was killed in combat in Iraq back in March of 2003, the first casualty of war in Iraq or Afghanistan with ties to the Central Coast.
"I'm probably just irritated", says Gunnery Sgt. Menusa's widow Stacy, "I'm irritated that we did all this work, and for what?"
Gunnery Sgt. Menusa is one of at least 9 U.S. service members with ties to the Central Coast killed in Iraq over the past decade.
"Its upsetting for the rest of the world to see but they have always known that, so its like where does that leave us as the U.S., and what do we do, do we step in or do we just let them handle it themselves, that's the question I think that's on the minds of everybody right now", Menusa says, " know for myself I would hate to see our troops go back over there because you know having lost someone over there its hard, you know, its hard to look at that and think that everything our military has done and it seems like it was for nothing, because they're back where they started."
Menusa says despite the chaos and bloodshed spiraling out of control in Iraq, she and other family members of fallen soldiers, airmen and Marines in Iraq do not believe the loss of their loved ones was in anyway in vain.
"My husband died doing what he loved to do, he was a Marine and he was 100 percent Marine before he even met me and you know he died doing what he loved to do, I think had he had the chance to do it over he would have done the same exact thing", Stacy Menusa says, "he died doing what he loved to do, he loved this country more than anything even though it was his adopted country, I think its not just him but all of our troops they take pride in what they do, and to say any of our troops died in vain its hurtful its because of their sacrifice that you and I can stand here and talk to each other."
Menusa says the upheaval in Iraq should be handled by Iraqis without any international intervention.
"Its time for them to protect their own soil, it shouldn't have to depend on everyone else to come in and free them because that's not our job, we don't live there, we don't have to live with that civil unrest, they need to standup and protect their own self-interest without having to have outside support come in and do it for them", Menusa says, "I would like to see all of our troops come home and not have to protect someone else's soil, we have enough problems in our own country to deal with, we shouldn't have to be the defenders of the world even though that's the title we hold."