Epiphanyblog

All about ideas…

Posts Tagged ‘war

I Agree On This: End of War

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Iraq War soliders in battle I graduated from high school in 1964, just as the Vietnam War took off. Most of my young male classmates were drafted into that war that hawks in both parties said was absolutely necessary to prevent Communism from spreading throughout South-east Asia. Known as the Domino Theory, it was widely believed that if Vietnam fell to Communism so would go all other So. East Asian nations, then eventually So. and Central America and eventually Africa.

So great was the fear of Communism in So. East Asia, that Eisenhower’s Administration came to believe that if Communism was not stopped at the borders of the USSR, China, and No. Korea, it immediately would spread to engulf the entire So. East Asia region including India and possibly Japan. However, conspiracy theorists such as those who created and joined the John Birch Society believed Eisenhower was too soft on Communism. They accused him of being a co-conspirator or “fellow traveler” or soft on communism because he refused to declare war again so soon after the end of WWII.

One of the greatest believers in the domino theory was Henry Cabot Lodge, a Republican who served as an adviser to Eisenhower and later to JFK on So. East Asia. Lodge came from a long-standing, prominent and highly politically influential New England family. His knowledge and standing on So. East Asia gave him a well respected gravitas. So, when he declared that Communism must be stopped or the entire So. East Asia region would fall to Communism, presidents and Congress listened.

The end result of the fear that all of So. East Asia would fall to the Communists was the Vietnam War. Nixon was elected on a platform of ending the war. As my own husband said when he returned from Vietnam, “we’re fighting a war to preserve the French rubber plantations.”

So much had the tide of war turned within the nation that during the 1968 election season, Nixon based his platform on ending the war. Overwhelming numbers of students and Vietnam vets turned out to cast their votes for Nixon, causing him to win the election. But Nixon was no appeaser. Instead of ending the war, his first term in office saw him expand the war into Laos and Cambodia. Loud protests erupted all across the nation…but it wasn’t until the sons of Congress members began being drafted that Congress turned from pro-war to pro-peace. It seems it was okay to send the sons of other people’s families to war but when their own sons became cannon fodder, sensibilities changed. Finally, Nixon realized that the only way to win a second term was to bring the war to a close.

But there were still a significant number of hawks within the Democratic Party who believed that the US had not only failed to win the war but had lost it. For them, nothing less than the complete annihilation of Communism was sufficient; they would gladly have used “the bomb” on North Vietnam rather have the US somehow seen as having lost that war. Those hawks joined the Republican party to later become known as neo-conservatives.

The neo-cons we know today, by and large, have never served a day in the armed forces but are willing to send the children of others to fight and die. They see enemies around every bend. They thoroughly believe that the US must have the greatest military force on earth because the destiny of the US is to be the greatest super-power, if not the greatest empire, on the face of the earth.

Even though GW Bush’s foreign policy gave the lie to the neo-cons ideology, they still hold considerable sway in Congress, in the media, and, most importantly, within the Republican Party. Respected conservative publications such as Buckley’s National Review are now completely controlled by neo-cons as is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). And, of course, the John Birch Society is no better, believing the supposed evils of communism – and its evil companion socialism – are just around every policy corner.

As a result, we have the Patriot Act and its equally odious new companion, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), adopted by the Senate in a count of 98 to 1 – more than enough votes to override a veto by President Obama.

As a centrist-left leaning voter, I do not believe in the constant, always needing a enemy, and ready to Even the dead ask, Let there be peace...declare war stance our nation has taken since Reagan’s Administration. I do not believe the US should be the world’s police force or build an American Empire or deplete our nation’s blood and treasure to fight wars that fail to serve our national interests. I believe that our nation would be much better served, just as the overwhelming number of our young GIs who have served in the war zones believe, by rebuilding and renewing our own nation and using diplomacy, rather than war, to negotiate our national and international interests.

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Written by Valerie Curl

January 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Afghanistan forever?

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Mike Pense, Rep of Indiana

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana on MSNBC

Tonight Rep Mike Pense spoke on Hardball. He stated quite clearly that the US military should stay in Afghanistan until we win, regardless of how long that winning takes. What I want to ask: what does winning mean? What describes winning in a country that no invader ever subdued in its entire history, going all the way back to Alexander the Great? What is winning in Afghanistan supposed to look like?

At a cost of $1M per year per soldier, the US has already spent over $250B in the eight years it’s been in Afghanistan (although I suspect the cost is closer to $1Trillion). Now, we’re looking an additional troop cost of at least $60M just to complete the 2 year mission Pres. Obama stated.

US soliders in Afghanistan

American GIs fighting in Afghanistan

We have a country in which a significant number of the working population cannot afford to buy food; food stamp usage is at an all time high; hundreds of people die every day for lack of health care access; many will die this winter for lack of affordable heat; hundreds of thousands of children are living on the street (or in their parents cars) because of home foreclosure and unemployment; most homes are underwater – worth less than they bought them for; and real unemployment is estimated at 20%. This country is embroiled in the worst fiscal and economic mess of over the last 60 years at the very least!

Added to all that “good” news, the American Association of Civil Engineers stated a year ago that most of American bridges, highways, dams, and waterways are serious jeopardy of failing, crashing, crumbling – as in Katrina-like destruction in almost every state in the country. Oh, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the country could partially pay for unending war by eliminating the unspent stimulus monies. You know, those monies meant to rebuild all those crumbling bridges, waterways, dams, and roads…uh, and hire people who desperately need the work! I guess your health and safety and livelihood doesn’t really matter. Just keep up that war stuff. Forever if necessary!

If this country cannot afford to take care of the US and its population, what, in heavens name, makes anyone think the US can afford an interminable war in a country that has repelled foreigners for over 3,000 years?

Now, I’m no weeping, wimpy peace-nik. I grew up in the military and married a guy who spent a year on the ground in ‘Nam. I’m willing to give the President and Pentagon the opportunity to change the dynamics in Afghanistan, even though I have serious doubts as to the US being able to make any real difference in the political, social, tribal, economic and military arenas within Afghanistan. But, hey, I’ll give them a chance…for two years. But, please, don’t expect my tolerance to last much longer. I simply can’t afford it. Nor can my newborn granddaughter!

I don’t like those ignorant, medieval Taliban idiots any more than anyone else living in any civilized country. Nevertheless, will the US be able to make a difference in this culture? I doubt it. Regardless, I’ll give the US government and the Afghan government one more, limited chance.

However, I refuse the idea that the American people expend years upon years of our youth’s blood and our national treasure on war. We have far too many needs at home. So, someone tell me, what does winning look like?

By the way, is the US military out of Iraq yet?

Written by Valerie Curl

December 3, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Need a Job? The three growing industry sectors in the U.S.

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Here are a few facts on which sectors are growing:

1) Every single day another prison somewhere in the U.S. is being built.

These prisons are needed to house the growing numbers of people convicted of crimes that even judges think are far too punitive. At a cost of more than $1M/prisoner per year, this sector continues to grow as the recession continues. As a side note, States have cut spending on schools even though the cost per student per year is less than 10% of the cost of housing a prisoner…and nets a far greater benefit to society and the economy as a whole.

2) Armaments – military, arms manufacturers, private contractors, mercenaries

Recently released, the cost per soldier per year in the war zones is one million dollars. The cost of the latest approved bombers which the generals did not want is billions. Manufacturers of bullets, to meet both increased military needs and civilian wants, have stretched manufacturing abilities to the breaking point, causing those prices to increase. The cost per contractor, or mercenary (think Blackwater), has been well publicized, showing overpricing, corruption and misappropriation of funds accounting to billions in lost federal (voter) dollars.

3) Health care – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and physical or occupational therapists.

Beyond the fact that the largest percentage of the populace is aging – as millions of baby boomers are on the verge of retirement – which means an increase in the need for medical care, there are now millions of young people who are suffering innumerable affects and disabilities caused by war injuries. And as long as the country continues to support interminable war, the need for health care workers will increase.

So if you’re looking for a job, you might look into these three industries.

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