Saturday, August 12, 2006

Paying the price

What’s wrong with this war in Iraq? Well, yes I know; a lot of things, but I want to focus on just one of them in this item and that is - who is bearing the cost?

In WW2 the entire country “paid the price” of war. In addition to the military draft, the civilian population did without rubber, gasoline and metals. They paid taxes and bought war bonds.

There was no rationing in Korea or Viet Nam, but there was still the draft and the civilian population still bore a tax burden to pay for the ongoing operation of the war.

Today we have young men and women on their third tour of duty in Iraq and facing a fourth because their armed forces are under-manned and the only strategy and hope that their leadership can offer is “stay the course.” The government strategy is tax cuts, a war cost that is “off budget” and pork barrel spending without end. Civilian strategy is “keep me safe” and reelecting anyone who will “bring the goodies to my home state.”

The entire cost of this war, financial and otherwise, is being borne by the men and women of our armed forces and their families.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

If a soldier survived his tour in Viet Nam he knew he would not have to go back. The odds of survival are better in Iraq, but many of our soldiers there are on their third tour of duty. They are not stupid either, they know there will be a fourth. Can anyone see an end to this madness? Can anyone show an endpoint to the men and women trapped in that hellhole of violence and death?

And the families wait at home, raising the kids as single parents. Hoping for the best, but living with the fear that a car will drive up to their home and an officer and uniformed chaplain will get out and approach their front door.

After a long, lonely, fearful wait; a joyful reunion for the fortunate. They thank God it’s over. They made it. And then they find out they have to do it all over again.

For the military and their families violence, death, loneliness,
anxiety and loss. For the rest of us the horror of $3.00 gasoline and congested freeways. How can we keep doing this?

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