Memorial Day 2012 has come and gone. We have flown our flags, visited military cemeteries, and have done other things to show proper respect for those who lost their lives fighting America’s wars. They deserve all that we can bestow. Even more.
Our leaders who led them into premature deaths, well, not so much. In some cases the wars were necessary. In World War II, Adolph Hitler was truly an evil person, and he led a nation in unspeakable cruelty. The Japanese leadership could be truly classified as evil as well. However, don’t forget, we fought Hitler because the Germans declared war on us! We fought Japan because of their attack on our Naval base at Pearl Harbor. If we could see right from wrong we would have entered the war a lot sooner.
Let us look at more recent times. Why in the hell were we in Vietnam? Why Iraq? In between we got a number of our soldiers and marines killed in Lebanon, Panama, etc. Why? Why?
A West Point historian, Col. Gian Gentile, — a person who might be expected to have a pro-military bias — has openly stated that the United States gained “not much” from our 10.5 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Col. Gentile, before serving at West Point, commanded a combat battalion in Baghdad. This man knows war.
We Americans need to seriously examine ourselves. The way we are going, we are likely to sacrifice more and more of our youth for rather dodgy reasons. Our politicians listen to, and take too much money from foreign and domestic lobbying groups. Before long there will probably be enormous pressure to intervene in Iran and Syria. We Americans, because of our ignorance, trust in a congress of our worst and dumbest. We tend to believe whatever our leaders suggest. Remember, in Iraq when it was clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction, the war was immediately rebranded by our leader George W. Bush as a war for human rights. Hmmm.
Helena Cobban, a reporter wrote: One hospital in Kabul, the Emergency Surgical Center for Civilian War Victims, serves people free of charge. Emanuele Nannini, the chief logistician for the hospital, reminded us, that the U.S. spends one million dollars, per year, for each soldier it deploys in Afghanistan. “Just let six of them go home,” he said, “and with that six million we could meet our total annual operating budget for the 33 existing clinics and hospitals we have in Afghanistan. With 60 less soldiers, the money saved could mean running 330 clinics.”
These kinds of calculations about costs and opportunity are exactly what the U.S. public needs to consider as it looks, as Col. Gentile has, at whether any particular war is “worth the effort.”
As we know, Syria has a civil war going on. No matter who wins, it isn’t going to be good for the Syrian people, Europe or America.
With Iran, the problem there is, of course, the nuclear weapons issue. Why are we putting so much pressure on stopping them? Why didn’t we try to stop China? Why not India? Why not Pakistan? Why not Israel? Remember, South Africa under the Apartheid regime also had nuclear bombs. Why didn’t we try to stop them? We are told that Iraq has religious zealots running the country. Do you want to better understand them? Just look at our own Republican party. Look at our friends, the Israelis. They seem to think that all the land in the Middle East belongs to them. So, I guess that if they want to make it radioactive, well, they’ll just go ahead and do that. After all, god is on their side!
Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag. The only hope for this world is that one of the world nuclear powers would be willing to give up their weapons IF others did as well. Will that happen? We can always hope, and, yes, if you’re inclined it that direction, pray. But keep your powder dry.