Millions of Americans gave George W. Bush unquestioned support when he diverted personnel and resources from the war against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq.
Several million fewer opposed the invasion, stating that the primary mission was to destroy the enemy hiding in Afghanistan that destroyed a part of America and not to expand the war. At first, President Bush claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, capable of destroying Israel and, if placed aboard cargo vessels, could be launched at the east coast of the United States. When that explanation fizzled, Bush said the invasion was to remove a dictator. Soon, “Regime Change” was the buzz phrase of the month.
Is this really a good idea, to start a war with Libya? I know, I know, humanitarian purposes and all that. But really? What about the humanitarian purposes elsewhere?
How many people have died in Yemen? What about Bahrain, where the military just tore down the square where anti-government protesters gathered? What about Syria? Bashir Assad is a dictator. Sudan? OK, so the referendum creating a new country in the south passed, but come on. Darfur, anybody? That’s in the west.
Apparently, we have enough money for another war.
We don’t have enough to give access to quality health care to everyone.
We can’t afford to make sure schools aren’t shortchanged.
We can’t improve our public infrastructure or expand or modernize public transportation.
Upgrading the electrical grid is beyond our means.
We have to take away collective bargaining rights for people who work for a living because it’s just too expensive.
We’re talking about draconian cuts to human services because we’re in such a financial crunch.
Workers have been losing ground for 30 years because the government just can’t keep spending on regulation. And besides, it’s just too intrusive for big corporations to be regulated.
Despite the human cost and the drain on the national treasury to the tune of billions of dollars, it’s out of sight and out of mind in the case of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were not even mentioned by the candidates in the mid-term elections.
But some people in the military do remember the troops. The Washington Post reported Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly made a speaking appearance in St. Louis last November. Four days earlier his son, Lt. Robert Kelly, also a Marine, stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan and died instantly.
Kelly, who asked that his son’s death not be mentioned in his introduction, was clearly disturbed that American people are not aware of the price being paid in far-off wars. In his appearance Kelly said, “Their struggle is our struggle.”