Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Soldiers & veterans say: Support us by ending the wars

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 12.31 pm

This week’s article, timed for Memorial Day, is about how much better this holiday would be if war were just a memory. “Support the troops” often gets thrown around as a meaningless catchphrase of thoughtless patriotism, but it’s worth noting that—according to many actual troops—supporting them means ending the wars.

“The hardest thing for me in Vietnam wasn’t seeing the wounded and dead,” said Johnny Cash after he visited soldiers in the late 1960s. “It was watching the big transport jets come in, bringing loads of fresh new boys for the war.”

The Man in Black’s comment captured a truth that couldn’t be overstated on Memorial Day: The best way to honor those who have died is to ensure that less deaths will follow them.

It is time America ends more than a decade of being at war.

It’s easy to pay lip service to supporting the troops. Politicians have this down pat, don’t they? Anyone running for any office, anywhere in America, can talk endlessly about how much they love the troops, yet the foreign policy positions they support often tell a very different story.

John Quincy Adams proposed that, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.” His vision for a non-interventionist foreign policy has not just been ignored; it’s been demolished. With anywhere from 660 to 900+ bases worldwide, our government today is constantly sending our military on monster hunts that are secretiveexpensiveendlessillegalimmoral and counter-productive.

Americans have had enough. Iraq is now viewed as a mistake by a majority and our long war in Afghanistan grows more unpopular by the day. Our war-weary country isn’t interested in intervening in places like LibyaSyriaIran, and Ukraine. On a broader scale, record numbers of Americans want our government to stop using our military to police the world.

More Americans than ever recognize that sending a new generation to fight and die in yet another unnecessary and ill-advised wars doesn’t support the troops or honor their memory.

Read the whole thing here.

Syria: By the Poll Numbers

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 12.11 pm

20%: Americans who think military action in Syria would be in the U.S. national interest

27%: Americans who think a military strike would improve the situation in Syria

17%: Independents who say a strike would improve the situation

30%: Democrats who say the same

31%: Republicans who agree

42%: Americans who back the use of military force against the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons

34%: Americans who still backed the use of military force in Syria after they had digested “a lot” of information on the Syrian government’s alleged chemical attacks

80%: Public approval for the 1990 Gulf War before it began

90%: Support for the U.S. action in Afghanistan before it began

76%: Approval for the Iraq invasion in 2003

(source)

“There are real concerns about the efficacy of action and deep fears of U.S. entanglement in Syria,” said James Lindsay, a foreign-policy expert and former Clinton administration official. “The public has a clear case of intervention fatigue after 12 years of engagement overseas, the longest stretch in U.S. history.”

Four takeaways here:

  1. That first figure indicates a growing understanding that just because we could invade somewhere doesn’t mean we need to or have to.
  2. If you had doubts about how similar establishment Republican and establishment Democratic foreign policy views are, have them no more — accounting for the margin of error, those numbers are identical.
  3. The more information someone has about this situation, the more likely they are to oppose intervention. For the blogger, this means: Keep writing. Keep spreading the word. Keep asking people to contact their reps to oppose this war. It can make a difference.
  4. Although there are apparently some irrational people who support war even though they don’t think it will improve the situation, overall, these numbers show progress: This is not 1990 or 2001 or 2003. We are tired of war, and it shows.

The Costs of War

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 11.32 am

I’m researching some of the costs of America’s wars since 2001 for a work project today. Most of this I’ve read about before — it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with most of the data. But all put together, it’s pretty heart-breaking. Here’s a sampling:

Dollars

  • $6 trillion+: The final costs of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • $16 trillion: The national debt
  • $720 million: The price of one day at war in Iraq
  • $300 million: One day of war in Afghanistan
  • $132 billion and growing: Annual Dep’t of Veterans Affairs budget
  • $50 billion: What we were told Iraq would cost

Freedom

  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Indefinite detention
  • 1.7 billion of our emails read daily
  • Suppression of free speech
  • TSA security theater
  • Assassination of Americans

Lives

  • 1 million+ excess deaths in Iraq
  • 7.8 million+ refugees in Iraq
  • 6,518 American soldiers dead in Iraq and Afgh.
  • 16,495 total U.S. military deaths 2001-2010
  • 48,430 Americans wounded in Iraq and Afgh.
  • 1,655 military amputations from battle
  • 300,000 veterans have PTSD
  • 50 civilians killed for every one terrorist

The constant posture of attack our foreign policy takes today simply doesn’t work, and its price is high in dollars, freedom, and lives. If we want a safer and saner America, it’s time to end the wars.

[Sources include: 123456789.]