Military action carries heavy cost

Military action carries heavy cost

About two million military have been deployed all around the world since 2004, many of them for multiple deployments. That is a large number of young men and women. It is estimated that 20 percent of them have returned with PTSD, in addition to those who have returned with grievous physical injuries. Much has been required of a relatively small percentage because we do not have a draft. 

I am not advocating a draft as a solution. I want to discuss the effects of war on our military and their families. When the family member returns, his or her problem affects their relationship with their family, down to the children. We must understand what war does to so many.

Our military leaders understand these effects and have a special perspective on these problems. I am afraid that many of our people are somewhat detached if they do not know military persons. How many of our lawmakers actually have served in the military or have children serving?  Actually very few and I think they do not often think of how war affects those they are so ready to send to war.

Too large a percentage of our policy makers strongly want to change the whole world to their definition of democracy. But they have not learned that this is not easy, and in fact has been abysmally unsuccessful.

For example, we fought in Viet Nam to prevent its going communist. What is Viet Nam?  It is communist. We fought in Iraq, ostensibly to remove an evil dictator. We were not attacked; lies about their possessing weapons of mass destruction have been proven untrue.  We went to war for oil. We have been stuck in Afghanistan for ten years, and many are predicting that as soon as we leave, the country will revert to its corrupt, cruel and primitive state. They will not have the power to destroy us.

Yes, it is a cradle of terrorism, but consider that if we had spent all that money wasted on that war instead on anti-terrorist agencies based in the U.S., what success we could have had!? And now we have some influential policy makers who are ready to intervene militarily again in other countries.

Let’s remember President Eisenhower, who led us to victory against the Nazis, who were invading most of Europe and threatening, with the Japanese to carry the war to our shores.  His parting warning, as he left the presidency, was to beware of the military industrial complex who are the only winners in war.

In the meantime, there are plans to spend 60 percent of our budget on the military, 6 percent each on  health and human services, education, 5 percent for state department, and ever diminishing percentages on a number or other small programs, and on Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Justice, NASA,, Energy, Labor,Treasury, Interior. Environmental Protection, down to 1 percent for transportation.

Faced with this dilemma, can we begin to listen to those who feel that discussion and negotiation is infinitely worth it?


Esther Confino

New Hyde Park

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