Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Our Wars
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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
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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