Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Our Wars
. . . .

Our Wars

Stephen Tuttle - July 12th, 2010
Our Wars
Michael Steele, chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), has
put the Afghanistan war in the headlines again. Mr. Steele, who
apparently believes his job is to make outrageous statements for which
he must subsequently apologize, said Afghanistan is now wholly Barack
Obama’s war and we have no chance to win, anyway.
Predictably, the Democrats howled in protest. So, too, did a phalanx
of big-name Republicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who
decried the defeatist comments as insulting to our troops in harm’s
way. Demands for Mr. Steele’s resignation came pouring in from a
wide spectrum of politicians left and right. Even former Vice
President Dick Cheney’s wife Lynn suggested the GOP might consider new
leadership.
Officially, the war in Afghanistan started on October 7, 2001, in
response to the attacks of 9/11. It was dubbed Operation Enduring
Freedom and involved American and British Special Forces plus a
blistering American air assault. (If you want to know the real story
of the earliest days of the war, which actually started a bit earlier,
read local author Doug Stanton’s exquisitely researched and written
book, Horse Soldiers.)
George W. Bush was president at the time it all started. Support for
retaliation against Afghanistan was almost unanimous. After all, they
were then being “governed” by the Taliban, who had given safe haven to
al Qaeda, who had given birth to the 9/11 murderers. Congress
provided the go-ahead and funding, and the public was gung-ho for
vengeance. We’ve been at it ever since, the longest military
engagement in United States history. President Obama’s recent surge
placed another 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, giving us nearly 100,000
troops now engaged.
But this is not George W. Bush’s war. And it certainly isn’t Barack
Obama’s war. It is our war.
Technically, it isn’t even a war. No president has requested, nor has
Congress issued, a formal declaration of war since Franklin Roosevelt
requested and received one in 1941. Since then we have engaged in
military operations all over the world for all kinds of reasons. How
many countries? Let’s run down the list.
Since World War II we’ve put our military in harm’s way in Iran (five
times, including deposing a democratically elected government so we
could install the Shah), Yugoslavia (twice), Uruguay, Greece, Germany
(twice), China (twice), the Philippines (twice), Puerto Rico, Korea,
Vietnam, Guatemala (twice), Egypt, Iraq (three times, including a
delightful moment in 1963 when we helped depose the ruling party so
Saddam Hussein could return from exile), Panama (twice), Cuba (twice),
Laos, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Chile, Angola,
Libya (twice), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Lebanon (twice), Grenada,
Honduras, Bolivia, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Liberia (twice),
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Zaire (now the
Democratic Republic of the Congo), Albania, the Sudan, Yemen,
Macedonia and Pakistan.
Today, we have troops in more than 100 countries around the world.
About 370,000 of our 1.4 million men and women in uniform are deployed
on foreign soil.
We’re pretty much oblivious to all of it. Never mind that all of this
is done with our tax dollars, the spending of which was approved by
our representatives in Congress and endangers our sons, daughters,
brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers.
But we aren’t arguing about winning or losing or military strategy.
We’ve long since stopped arguing about whether or not we should be
quite this adventuresome. Now we’ve decided to fight over naming
rights to the war in Afghanistan. How absolutely remarkable.
Lost in the infantile name-calling contest are the warriors who fight
these things for us. We’re fighting the longest running military
conflict in our country’s history and we have other troops in every
corner of the globe. But we’ve still been asked to contribute nothing
to these efforts.
Oh, yes, on the Fourth of July we pretended to honor our “heroes” by
giving lip service to sacrifice and then listening to the Marine Corps
Band just before settling in for some cotton candy and fireworks.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the death toll races toward 7,000 and
the casualty count has already exceeded 35,000. Except for their
families, friends and compatriots in battle, they hurt and die alone.
The rest of us suffer not at all. We sacrifice nothing. We focus on
oil leaks and vapid campaign rhetoric. Republicans rally for their
tea partiers and against illegal immigrants while blathering on about
less taxes and smaller government. The Democrats, a party in search
of a coherent platform, rant on about reforming Wall Street while
trying desperately to protect their majorities.
Do you know what the GOP or Democrat platform on the war in
Afghanistan is currently? They are both “committed to victory.” Have
you heard any candidate for any office discuss our troops in any
country other than Iraq or Afghanistan? Have you heard any candidate
talking about an increased budget for the Department of Veteran
Affairs or the VA healthcare system? Or maybe, in general, bringing
some of our troops from somewhere home? Not one.
No, Afghanistan isn’t Barack Obama’s or George W. Bush’s war. It’s
our war. All of them are. We all own every military deployment we
ever undertake. We’re just not really interested in any of them.

 
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