August 24, 2012
War is too hot
Two-thirds of Americans have a negative opinion about the war in Afghanistan. More than 2,000 U.S. military fatalities and 15,800 wounded Americans have been counted there since the war began 12 years ago.
Wisconsin’s share of the monetary cost of the war in Afghanistan totals $1.988 billion (that’s $1,988,000,000), according to the National Priorities Project. The United Nations has announced a very incomplete listing of 12,793 civilian casualties since 2006.
Yet, on August 22 the Associated Press called the War in Afghanistan “America’s forgotten war.” It’s not an issue in the presidential campaigns of either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Why not? Because it’s too important to touch, like a hot burner on a stove.
For starters, high schools remain burdened with providing student data to military recruiters upon request unless an individual student’s family “opts out.” Most families don’t opt out for reasons including: they don’t know that George Bush’s 2002 No Child Left Behind Act gives military recruiters access to student data; the economic recession makes military recruitment easier among jobless young people; and the federal budget continues to pay dearly for human cannon fodder.
In fiscal year 2010, the U.S. Army spent $22,898 to get a recruit to sign on the dotted line. That didn’t include a number of costs, including the costs of leasing recruitment offices. Basic training for a new recruit in 2010 cost an additional $73,000. And then the price really goes up. Deployment of one soldier to Afghanistan costs somewhere between $850,000 and $1.4 million.
Crass monetary statistics, of course, pale in comparison to the deaths, injuries, and pervasive destruction of the “forgotten” war in Afghanistan. Wasn’t that a term used to describe the war in Korea 60 years ago?
Through March for fiscal year 2012, the Department of Defense reported that recruitment quotas were met or exceeded for active duty in the Army (27,701), Navy (15,151), Marine Corps (10,625), and Air Force (14,353).
Recruits joining Reserve components were in 2012 were: Army National Guard (24,706); Army Reserve (14,095); Navy Reserve (3,756); Marine Corps Reserve (4,485); Air National Guard (4,206); and Air Force Reserve (4,255).
So, if Obama or Romney aren’t interested in ending the war in Afghanistan, and the mainstream media remains focused on hairstyles and whose ads are baddest, it’s left to the majority of us citizens to end the war.
Peace is a top agenda item at Fighting Bob Fest this year. On Friday, September 14, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Phil Donahue will bring his acclaimed documentary Body of War and its story about 25-year-old Tomas Young’s homecoming after being paralyzed from a bullet to his spine after serving in Iraq for less than a week. Also on Friday evening, author Norman Solomon will show clips of his film War Made Easy, based on the book of the same name.
Donahue and Solomon will also speak at Fighting Bob Fest on Saturday, September 15, at the Alliant Center, where an exhibit “Art Against War” will be shown on the east entrance balcony and in the third level hallway. You’ll hear the Raging Grannies musical take on war at Fighting Bob Fest on Saturday morning. And a visit is possible from a drone to drive home the lethal nature of unmanned aerial vehicles. Don’t worry. The drone at Fighting Bob Fest won’t be dangerous. But you’ll get the point. See you there.
For more information about Bob Fest, contact Sam Wegleitner at 651-249-5079 or 608-256-1003, or email him at email@example.com.
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If Obama had any smarts, he'd end the wars, close the 1200 bases the US has around the world, bring the troops home, and put them to work on infrastructure projects here at home like roads, national parks, high-speed rail, etc. Not only would he be training vets with needed skills, they'd have jobs when their terms were up. The war budget of $1.5 trillion could be used for nation building here at home, not Afghanistan nor Iraq.
But Obama's a conservative and a war monger.
I finished reading Mary's Mosaic by Peter Janney and I give it five stars out five. Between that and JFK and the Unspeakable by Jim Douglass, it pretty much explains the who, what, and why. If JFK had gotten to follow through on his plans as he described in his speech at American University, the US could have seen a golden age.
-Mad Hemingway | Heart of Badger country | August 24, 2012
There's a war? Oh, oh. Guess Obungle didn't come through on that one either. How DOES he expect to win?
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | (Glad) I Escaped, WI. | August 24, 2012
Republicans are always clamoring to cut the budget for PBS. Whenever I write my congressman F. James Sensenbrenner on the need to continue funding PBS, he always replys that private businesses provide the same service. So why is it that the PBS News Hour is the only television station that honors the Americans killed in action by asking for a moment of silence when they show the names and faces of those killed. A service no other network provides. Obviously republicans(and most democrates) want the American people to forget about the illegal wars we aren't paying for.
-Dole O'Mite | Waukesha County | August 24, 2012
Who would have thought a comunity organizer turned Chicago Politician would be full of BS? It's just unbelievable.
-SW | Waukesha WI | August 24, 2012
One reason that Obama and Romney do not talk about war could be that the two hand picked Wall St 'candidates' agree on a foreign policy based on hegemony and deceit. I haven't heard either of them talk much about labor, civil liberties, the environment, domestic spying, extrajudicial killing, the police state tactics used against Americans who attempt to excercise their first ammendment rights, or poverty. Looks like there is some bipartisan agreement after all.
The Democrats would like people to believe that they are an alternative to the right wing extremism of the Republicans, but they have failed to hold Obama accountable for embracing and expanding the abuses of the Bush/Cheney reign of terror.
Both parties seem to embrace a totalitarian agenda as long as it is pushed by one of their own.
-Ron | SoCal | August 26, 2012
I can understand why Republicans wouldn't want to talk about the war. Even with 2 wars on Bush couldn't make the economy work. Troops went to war without being properly equipped to fight, and yet factories were closing. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Replicans had been in office during World War 2?
I never wanted to see the country enter the wars. The idea that the troops didn't have what they needed to keep them as safe as humanly possible was hard to take. All the while no sacrifice was made on behalf of those doing the fighting, instead we got tax cuts.
Just yesterday the President said another 33,000 troops would be coming home soon. It would be difficult to bring them all home all at once, but we need to keep the pressure on to end this mess.
-Bernard Lisner | Westfield Wisconsin | September 2, 2012