Saturday, February 17, 2007

Slabs of Bacon

It's easy to be a cheerleader for war. A great deal of the people who support any given war are those who don't have to wage it and are personally not affected negatively by it. For such people, it's nothing more than a concept or rallying cry. From this standpoint, it's easy to wrap oneself in the flag of patriotism.

Unfortunately, war is never that simple and clearcut. For one thing, people die as its consequence and the family of the deceased must deal with the fallout.

War is hell on the environment, both where it is fought AND where it is prepared for. The landscape of Iraq is now being seriously harmed. Most of the Super Fund sites in the U.S. are related to former military sites (think Hanford).

War is also expensive. Every dollar spent on the machinations of war typically represent tax dollars NOT being spent on something else. Wars have led to the demise of many great nations and civilizations.

And war tends to affect the fabric of life in ways not readily apparent. Every soldier in the theater of war isn't killed. Many will come home with physical wounds and most will come home with emotional scars.

This is one of the areas in which I'm probably the most upset with the Bush administration and its supporters. While the p[R]esident speaks of war with lofty and emotionally-charged prose, he only seems interested in the welfare of the soldiers who wage his war in a conceptual way. In genuine human terms, soldiers are treated no better than slabs of bacon.

Consider the following:
  • Our soldiers in Afghanistan & Iraq are ill-equipped. Each stands a better chance of being wounded or killed due to a lack of personal body armor and out-dated or poor working equipment.
  • Soldiers aren't paid well. Their families must struggle to make ends meet while the breadwinner is thousands of miles away.
  • Soldiers aren't being allowed to come home to resume "normal" life. It's been well documented that the Pentagon keeps extending tours of duty beyond reasonable limits.
  • Once soldiers do return home, they are soon faced with a VA system that is underfunded and understaffed. It's like now that they've done their "duty", the Bush administration has nothing to offer them and, basically, is no longer interested in them.
As anyone who has read anything on this blog must know, I oppose war. I oppose the violence and I oppose the fallout.

That said, if some of you favor this or that war, then you've got to support the whole enchilada. It's not enough to wrap yourselves in the flag and mouth patriotic jingles. You've got to support our soldiers and the victims of war every step along the way -- from beginning to end.

The tragic thing is that most of the supporters of war do NOT support all the recriminations of war.

It's very similar to many who are against abortion. They will jump up and down to save an unknown fetus, but seem to oppose some or all of the social service programs that will serve the saved fetus that will grow into a human being.

They embrace concepts only, but reject the living and breathing human beings that give life to their sterile concepts.

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