2010-12-24 / Letters

Peace In Our Time

At this time of Christmas let us honor our fighting men and women serving in our two wars. May they come back minus physical scars and may the mental imprints not cause lingering problems. May they find employment upon their return when they are ready, and may they feel that they did not fight for naught even though the latest news reports on Afghanistan reveal that America, like its predecessors who tried to fix a broken Afghanistan, has not succeeded. May our fighting men and women who require medical attention get all that they need for as long as they need without having to battle for the proper health care; and, may our politicians, after a failed Vietnam and a failed Afghanistan and an all too quiet Iraq, not race into future wars.

What have our Congress members learned when it comes to declaring and waging war? Have they learned that war is not a boost to today’s domestic economy when our participation in a global economy dilutes our country’s economic present and future? Have they learned that thorough investigations of reasons for war are crucial? Have they learned that unconventional wars where our enemies are not tailored in matching uniforms are impossible to win? Have they learned the Pentagon is in the business of war and their side of the story will inevitably be pro war? Have they learned that accepting bribes (lobbyist middleman money) from companies who stand to profit from war takes too big a human toll? Have they learned the public is aware the two current wars cannot be won? Thus, the president will merely have to declare victory despite our situation and leave. Have they learned that since we have befriended our enemies from prior wars that talking, not fighting, is the path to peace? Have they learned that taking the money from our war spending and redirecting it to our own country in really tough economic times is the right thing to do? Have they learned despite their faux call for transparency, news organizations are more hip to their baloney and will expose their indiscretions for the world to see? Too bad those in Congress do not embarrass easily.

Exactly what has the public learned about modern day wars? Has the public learned not to believe everything they hear and read? Has the public learned that drinking the Koolaid of politicians and professional warriors is easier than questioning them; but, can lead us down the path of unwinnable wars for decades at a time? Has the public learned we were rushed into “Shock and Awe” on a ruse because we were told there was this tiny window of opportunity before it got oppressively hot in Iran and military brass didn’t want to expose our soldiers to the heat (and we have spent ten years there in the heat)? Has the public learned that government information about yellow cake uranium was false? Has the public learned Iran had nothing to do with 9/11 even if politicians were tripping all over one another trying to convince the public of the connection? Has the public learned that our focus on Iraq led to our failure to nip Afghani terrorists in the bud allowing the terrorist situation in Afghanistan to get out of control? Has the public learned that even if we “won,” there were no credible leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan who could be trusted to first sign a peace treaty and secondly keep the peace? Has the public learned it matters where we spend our money in that had we not spent hundreds of billions in wars, we could have spent it on our own citizens and our infra-structure? Has the public learned it matters how much in debt our country is as our deficit is passed on to succeeding generations while politicians are still spending foolishly on pet projects?

Agree with the above statements or not, hold this truth to be self-evident, those whom we warred against from the forties until the present (North Korea excluded) are our friends today, many living on our shores pursuing the American dream. From VWs to Sushi and Vietnamese restaurants, our former hated enemies are now our countrymen. Like them or not, this is a fact that bears consideration each and every time our country starts beating the drums for war.

Who were the winners in our wars? Halliburton and subsidiaries won big time. Blackwater, our covert second army, earned big bucks. Every supplier, military weapons manufacturer, purveyor, building suppliers made out like bandits, and certainly there were many more who benefited financially from the wars.

Who were the losers? Every person who died or who was maimed, whether they be Afghans, Iraqis or Americans, lost. Allies and their friends and families who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in our wars lost. Every man, woman and child whose job it is to pay back the $45,000 deficit created by the war who will suffer for decades lost. The reputation of the U.S. continues to take a big hit in the theater of world politics. The credibility of America’s leaders for not being truthful (either by omission or commission) with leaders of the world has been and will be a burden America will carry well into the future. The young whose innocence about and pride in country may have suffered for their pure dedication to a country whose leaders have forgotten them.

The slogan, “we’re fighting them over there so they won’t fight us over here” is just that, a public relations sound bite. The 600-pound gorilla here is that we all know that a single terrorist who turns himself or herself into a human bomb could strike anywhere at any time. Warring in Iraq and Afghanistan does nothing to change that.

Thus far our country has been lucky to escape the wrath of terrorists. In this time of Christmas, of peace and joy, let us promise ourselves we will learn from our mistakes and not repeat the historic blunders that have gotten us into this global disaster.

Bless our troops and bring them home quickly and safely. Bless our country and keep it safe from terrorism. Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth!

JOAN METTLER

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