Two events of recent weeks have pushed me over the edge. It’s time to bring our troops home and get out of this silly game of non-wars and nation building.
The two events that have showed me how little we really care about all the young men and women we have fed into the war machine — over 6,000 dead by the latest count — involved an idiotic congressman and an airline that I used to hold dear.
The idiotic congressman was none other than New York’s Anthony Weiner, who, with a last name like that, probably never stood a chance. I was once a redhead and my middle name is Cupp, both of which I paid a hefty price for in my younger years for the kidding they drew from my peers. With a name like Weiner I can imagine what a young Anthony went through, but still it does not excuse him for his misdeeds nor justify the media attention he has received.
It’s exactly that media attention that pointed out in the second case that disturbed me just how little our country cares for the lives it is frittering away in our wars, non-wars and nation building excursions.
I have lived in the South for three-quarters of my life and Delta Airlines has been one of the airlines of which we have been proud over the years. But when I heard that Delta was slapping exorbitant extra baggage fees on our troops returning from combat, I swore I would never again fly on that airline despite the fact I have some close friends who fly and work on their planes.
That was one of the most despicable things I have ever seen anyone foist on those who have given of their time to defend this country. Delta stooped lower than the members of Congress who chose to take their pay while denying checks to service men and women if our government should have to shut down because it could borrow no more money.
The Delta extra baggage charges got brief, fair note in the press that immediately went back to concentrating on Weiner’s wiener story.
What has happened to us?
We have become so callous and news numb, we can’t see that we are turning into a nation of dummies, easily fleeced by a government run amuck.
We’re involved in two wars of marginal legality in Iraq and Afghanistan, a couple of non-wars in Libya and Yemen and probably subliminally through our covert CIA troops and contract mercenaries in Syria, Egypt and other Middle East hot spots.
We’re spending the lives of our young men and women by the dozens in armed conflicts that somehow our leaders have managed to thrust us into without the approval of Congress that is supposed to be the only body in this country that can declare war.
Sure, we’re using NATO and other alliances as a cover for what we are doing, but what is NATO? It’s little more than us. We provide the money, the arms and the troops. Of all the casualties in all of these conflicts, other NATO nations can count their contributions without taking off their shoes. It’s American men and women who are being slaughtered in the name of some unholy alliance at a cost outstripping that of other nations by many fold.
Libya alone is costing us something like $10 million a day and the nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan has been burning up another half billion dollars every 24 hours.
And what is all of this getting us?
If you listen to the mainstream media, it’s buying us troop-gouging airlines and congress members more concerned about their libido than their country.
So let’s bring the troops home. The trillion and a half dollars — and that’s just the budget we see not counting all the black budget items buried out of view — that we’ve spent on these Middle East adventures most people in this country could care less about would go a long way towards supplementing the shortages in our Social Security and Medicare programs, not to mention covering a lot of the government overdrafts that Congress seems always to be struggling with.
If all these nations want to fight, let them fight. We can keep our military-industrial complex cranking out the weapons and sell them to them. If they don’t have the money to pay for them we can give them credit and use their IOUs to pay down some of the indebtedness we owe other countries. At least that might give some of our alliance partners a little face-saving participation in these events in which they have been shirking their financial obligations.
I’ve simply seen too many wars and too many young lives wasted in my 75 years. Enough is enough is enough.
Let’s bring ’em home!
Dave Whitney is a retired journalist and adventurer who has won many writing awards. He was born and raised in central Ohio, attended school in Missouri, served in the US Army Security Agency, and migrated to Florida a half century ago. Author of four books, he is a former Associated Press writer/editor and has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize during his writing career. As editor and founder of the Free Press newspapers in the Florida Keys he was the first publisher to pick up Frank Kaiser’s “Suddenly Senior” column when it entered syndication. Whitney currently resides in Lakeland, Fla., after living 25 years in the Florida Keys.
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