Monday, November 1, 2010

Political campaigns ignore our wars

Leaving the war on the back burner

The “war on terror” is seldom mentioned these days; like “war on drugs,” a complete misnomer. How can you have war on fear, horror, fright, dread or shock? We have swallowed that phrase without thinking what it means.

Call it what we will, it is a tragic time of despair and grief to millions of military and civilians of Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S.A. Doves are more my kind than hawks.

Never have our troops, with such minimal backing and even fewer resources, faced such an overwhelming mission. A mission that appears to slow down but with no solution in sight. The purpose of the war has changed throughout this decade. Invasion and war was not the answer to the crime of 19 Saudi Arabians who hijacked planes and killed thousands. Wasted money and lives.

Our military men, women and their families are the only ones making sacrifices. Over 2 million American military have served as best they could for almost ten years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. To do that takes a lot of sacrifice and money. According to Paul Rieckhoff, only 3 percent of our citizens “have war on their radar.”

Rieckhoff is a veteran of these wars and is the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. With the ridiculous expanded TV cable and network coverage of the just ended election season, the war disappeared from public view.

But the killed are still being buried. The injured are still being brought back for treatment. The involved families are still experiencing pain. Over 20,000 have been injured and more than 500 have lost a limb. The post-traumatic wounds grow by the day. Hundreds of these are homeless.

A footnote in this war is the large number of combat wounded women. This is a war with no front lines. It is similar to our 17th century fight with the American Indians, hidden snipers in the forests. The front lines are around any sand dune, corner teahouse, or potholed road.

As good as the rehabilitation efforts have been, Congress has shown little commitment to these wounded men and women. With very few exceptions, the government has shown even less interest in ending the war. Leaving the troops to linger any longer does not solve anything. Now is the best time to stop the war. The war has raged for the entire lifetime of American youths 15 years or younger.

This has been an election year and Congress has ignored the wars. Not a single politician, of any party, spoke of the war’s horrors. It is anti-American to ignore a war during a election season. Political rallies completely avoided the war. It was the overlooked elephant at the rallies.

If the war continues to be out of sight and out of mind, what can we civilians do? I am sure some entrepreneur will suggest printing more bumper stickers to show how “supportive” we are. We can buy more flags and wave them with more patriotic passion. Our government can borrow more money. The pastors might give the challenge of being peace-makers a greater priority. Those of us in the pews have a short memory when it comes to sermons.

“God bless America,” a nice anthem, but what does it have to do with baseball’s seventh-inning stretch? To ease our conscious? To show we support the troops? Why should Go bless our land? Fortunately, I have run out of space. I must take up that question at another time.

No comments: