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Here we go again. More pounding of the war drums by the White House, more troops being deployed to a very foreign place thousands of miles away, more war whoops by hawks sitting on bar stools and sporting “Support Our Troops” lapel pins. America is going to war!
Only… It’s not.
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A very tiny percentage of Americans are engaged in Obama’s Afghanistan war in any way other than as casual observers and flag wavers. Except for a few hundred thousand soldiers being rotated in and out of the war again and again (plus their anxious and often-struggling families), the vast majority of us are making no sacrifices whatsoever. We’re watching football playoffs, going shopping, and planning holiday dinners. Tis the season to be jolly!
Afghanistan literally is a class war, with working-class and poor folks bearing the brunt of the terror, killing, bleeding, crying, dying, and grieving that is the brutish heart of war. Those Wall Street barons we’re bailing out, the politicians who crow so loudly about America’s greatness, the corporate lobbyists who get billions of our tax dollars for fueling the perpetual war machine – practically none of these privileged ones have any of their loved ones at risk of harm in what we’re told is a “war of necessity” to secure the freedom of all Americans.
How can we claim to be a united people, a society of equals, a nation of justice – when we separate the burden of war from those who declare it and profit from it? Some say we need a universal draft to involve every family. But I think one basic rule would change the way that our leaders look at war – and limit their enthusiasm for military adventurers: any politician who votes for going to war and any corporate chieftain who gets war contracts will have their loved ones drafted to the first in the line of fire.