What About the Wars?

March 10, 2011 2:01 PM0 comments

America is suffering from attention deficit when it comes to the wars we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – and to a lesser degree, our involvement in Pakistan and Yemen.

America is suffering from attention deficit when it comes to the wars we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – and to a lesser degree, our involvement in Pakistan and Yemen.

And that is the way the White House, the Pentagon and other government institutions prefer it.

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 Lt. General Marine 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.”

Rarely does President Obama mention the two major conflicts where we have thousands of fighting men and women – with deaths almost daily.

Oh yes, at Medal of Honor ceremonies, Obama makes the proper salute. And in the case of tragedies such as a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan killing nine little boys gathering wood, the President expresses our regrets and prayers for the tragic accident, a big help.

But one wonders, does the President understand his own responsibility for those young lives? The Afghan parents of these children will not even get a folded American flag.

Apparently none of the 87 new conservative Republican congressmen have expressed any pros or cons regarding these wars. Most of them are on board with the wars and have not called for any major slash in Pentagon spending.

The newcomers have shown their deep concern about the immense deficit – but the cost of war is not in their purview.

The GOP freshmen would rather slash funds for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, money badly needed for the poor and disadvantaged. The Republicans are also targeting school teachers. They should consider taking big pay cuts for themselves, including all of their perks. That will be the day for these frugal newcomers on Capitol Hill.

U.S. newspapers and television programs also ignore the wars. Some broadcasters do acknowledge the wars thousands of miles away, but they also say these wars are rarely the lead story, on grounds that people are not that interested.

But the truth is the Obama Administration is happy to keep the popular pressure off as the fighting goes on.

Obama is following his predecessor, George W. Bush, regarding war policies and censorship. The Bush Administration barred coverage by reporters and cameramen of the American soldier coffins. But the truth is the Obama Administration is happy to keep any anti-war popular pressure off against the wars as the fighting continues.

Those pictures might upset the country and leave us asking, “Why are we still fighting and dying in those wars?” We have yet to get a straightforward answer from Obama, as to why he chooses to continue the Bush-instigated wars.

The lack of focus on the mayhem goes back to a command decision during the Vietnam War.

Pentagon officials decided that war scenes in Vietnam beamed on the nightly news prompted anti-war demonstrations in the U.S. In the end, the American people did see the American troops hanging on helicopters, taking off from rooftops in Saigon, by their finger tips.

We lost the war – and should have left even sooner and saved lives.

The Pentagon decided we lost because most Americans had turned against the war. They sure did, because American families had hit the streets every day.

In the aftermath, the U.S. war planners said, “never again.” They didn’t mean never again would we fight wars in Asia – they meant they would never again let the American people see war in its reality, as we saw in Vietnam and now in North Africa.

After the Ford Administration, in 1974, the other Republican administrations tried to put the best spin on the Vietnam debacle, by calling it an honorable cause, but the American people knew otherwise.

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