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Archive for the ‘The many costs of war’ Category

President Obama ended his war speech tonight by saying, “We as Americans can come together behind a common purpose.”  He also said our “cause is just” and “our resolve is unwavering.”  If these phrases are more than soaring rhetoric, I have a few questions:

When will this military venture become something more than a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight?  

Working class men and women fighting these wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) are either killed or broken mentally and physically through repeated deployment to these god-foresaken battlefields.  I don’t see the upper classes and politicians who are making war decisions sending their children to this particular war.  If  Afghanistan is so important to our national security, then we need to begin the draft now.  I am increasingly disgusted by the sentimentalizing, romanticizing, and patronizing of our “brave men and women in uniform,”  many of whom are in uniform because they needed a job.  Does this self-indulgent society really care all that much about the mental and physical damage and stress experienced every day by the troops on the ground in Afghanistan?  Or is it “out of sight, out of mind?”

When will the upper classes begin paying their fair share of taxes so that our quality of life can stop its decline due to war spending?

If the middle classes and working classes continue to pay a disproportionate share of the taxes needed to fight this war, and the upper classes continue to profit while bearing a lower tax burden, that won’t seem to me to be “coming together behind a common cause.”

What happens if an Afghan Army and Government are not able to pick up the fight in 18 months?

There is an old labor movement refrain to promises from politcians:  “We will get pie in the sky when we die by-and- by.”  It is likely that we will attempt to buy off villagers (the Petraeus approach), sacrifice the lives of several hundred American troops and god knows how many of the villagers.  We will have hundreds of Americans with severe injuries that most of us will never see…and wouldn’t want to look at anyway.  At the end of 18 months, we will be coming out. Yea right.

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The Nov. 21-27, 2009,  issue of the Economist was devoted to the U.S. budget deficit–its causes and solutions.  I found it disconcerting that this conservative, business-oriented publication chose to focus on programs for the elderly as the main causal factor in our current 13 trillion dollar debt.  For instance, on page 13, an editorial writer had the following to say: 

“America’s deficit problem is in essence a spending problem, so spending must bear the brunt of adjustment.  An aging population and health care inflation are inexorably driving up the cost of the country’s three big entitlements: Social Security (pensions), Medicare, and Medicaid (health care for the elderly and the poor, respectively).”

This is reminds me of the blame for U.S. budget woes heaped on welfare recipients during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations.  And, indeed, a punitive so-called “welfare reform” act was passed during the Clinton Presidency.

Nothing was said in the Economist about spending on the military-industrial complex, the trillion or so that was gifted to Wall Street gamblers, tax cuts for the rich, handouts to the pharmaceutical industry, and on-going wars of choice–just to name a few other drains on the Federal budget.  In terms of adjustments, the Economist might have mentioned some of the current proposals to tax financial transactions, taxing hedge fund managers as employees rather than treating their income as capital gains, increasing the capital gains tax, and so on.  Why does the debt problem have to be solved, again, on the backs of the elderly and the poor?

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35,000 More Troops in Afghanistan…
Is President Obama About to Make a Huge Mistake? 
 

Will we get warfare or health care in the Obama Administration?  If the media is correct in reporting that President Obama is planning to announce a major military escalation, perhaps a whole new war, in Afghanistan, then that is the question.  Will this Country pour another $50 billion per year into an unnecessary, misguided war that will in all likelihood end badly?    

How much militarism can the U.S. afford?  How many U.S., mostly working class, troops are we willing to sacrifice in worthless military ventures that have nothing to do with the safety and welfare of our population – or any other population for that matter?  Have we learned nothing from Viet Nam and Iraq?  It is mind boggling to see the seemingly intelligent, liberal Barack Obama bend to the will of a general that should have been fired for insubordination when he undermined the President in public.   

I sometimes wonder what could have become of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society had he not made the mistake that President Obama is apparently ready to make.  Congress can stop this. 

Call Congressman Moore and/or Congresswoman Jenkins and tell them to vote against this misadventure.

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