Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Sacrifices of War

From, comes this column by Mark Shields, which I have excerpted:

Moral logic tells us that when the nation legally goes to war, it is everybody's war and it must be everybody's risk. But the elite of the country seeks to make war little more than a spectator sport.

Citizens on the home front who do not have loved ones in the service are asked to pay no price, to bear no burden. The Bush administration does not even ask us to pick up the cost of the war, already in the hundreds of billions. That burden will be borne instead by our children. We, patriots, will keep our tax cuts. Do our leaders think so little of us that they are afraid to ask us to make any real sacrifice?

This is a topic of conversation on a mailing list to which I belong from my alma mater (high school's nice to be on a mailing list where I'm not the smartest person in the room...). We're a feisty bunch, and sometimes we will pick a topic to its very bones.

A point one of the participants (he graduated from high school in my class and is a conservative in all but label...go fig) made is that there's no logic to asking the elite of this nation to make sacrifices, to ask their children, to fight in this war.

Naturally, Shields makes the point far more eloquently than I could have. It's not about logic (war is never logical), it's about morality. We pass this war onto our children, a war against a nation that had never attacked us, and never possessed the means to attack us. A nation that had nothing to do with the attacks against us.

And yet this war was justified as a defense of our homeland. Well? In wars where we really were attacked, we sacrificed and strove as a nation to build a war machine while simultaneously dragging our country out of an economic mess (yes, I'm versed enough in economics to understand these are not unrelated events).

So where's the sacrifice now?

Non-existent, from what I can see, save for oil prices being slightly higher than they would have been without a war in Iraq. The rich get richer, and the poor fight for them.

People have hopes, people have dreams. Our children want to be better off than we are, yet this truly is the first generation where that outcome is in doubt. And that's sad.

No, I take it back. We did sacrifice. We sacrificed our future as a free and democratic society. We sacrificed our children at the altar of tax cuts for the wealthy and connected. We may even have sacrificed our planet, if the news from Iran is any marker. And so I'm not sad, I'm angry.

Bunch of chickens running this country, without the nerve to face the music about what they've done to my country...
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