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Are you aware that America has now been at war for nearly a decade? We’ve been fighting, bleeding, and dying in two hellacious, multitrillion-dollar conflagrations since 2001 – and our blood continues to flow, with no end in sight.
Well, not our blood. Not yours and mine. We continue to go about our daily routines – go to work, go to the mall, go out to eat, go golfing, go to church, go on vacation, go dancing and drinking. War? Americans will pay far more attention to the World Series than they will to the ongoing carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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In a little-noticed speech, Pentagon chief Robert Gates recently pointed out that, “For most Americans, the wars remain an abstraction – a distant and unpleasant series of news items that do not affect them personally.” Service in the military, ” he bluntly says, “has become something for other people to do.”
He’s right. You see, “we” are not at war. We handed off that awful duty a decade ago to the 2.4 million active and reserve soldiers in the armed services, less than 1 percent of our nation’s people. They and their families are the ones “at war,” cycled and recycled into debilitating and deadly deployments.
“We the People” are not even making the minimal sacrifice of paying for the burden we’ve so carelessly stacked on their shoulders. Both the Bush regime and the Obamacans, fully backed by both Republican and Democratic Congresses of the past decade, cravenly put Afghanistan and Iraq on the national credit card, piling up trillions of dollars in debt for future generations to cover.
The widening disconnect between Americans and America’s wars is not only dangerous for our democracy, but it’s immoral, allowing politicians and corporate profiteers to sink our national soul in the diabolical depths of perpetual war.
“Gates Fears Wider Gap Between Country and Military,” The New York Times,” September 30, 2010.