The men in the American military and their families are getting screwed. The same men are deployed over and over, again and again, and the psychological toll is enormous. Not to mention the physical toll.
Here’s what’s going on.
Politicians have learned that by keeping the Army small and lean, and redeploying the same men, they reduce the political fallout of a long war.
Why go to war if the enemy knows that you have a time limit before your people call you back? The enemy can just wait you out. So there is less danger of an anti-war movement emerging if the numbers of families doing the sacrificing are small.
Of course, long deployments and re-deployments are destroying relationships and marriages. And that is creating a spike in suicides. But it is a sacrifice the politicians are willing to allow for the good of the nation, not to mention for the increased chance of re-election.
But fewer numbers are just part of it. There is more.
If you can reduce the death toll you can have your war and have great flexibility in pushing your soldiers around the global chessboard, not to mention get re-elected. All for the good of “freedom,” of course. And the families who are sacrificing, need you and will support you.
So, at the moment of injury, we have state of the art medical care for our soldiers and a “no man left behind” policy.
Now, the soldiers and the military families think that this is all for them.
If they loved their soldiers the care wouldn’t fade away after they leave the battlefield and disappear into the system. The politicians did it because it allows them to have their wars.
This process is fueled by the companies and individuals who are making money off of these wars. And it is even partly the fault of the soldiers themselves, who have a predictable knee-jerk patriotic reaction when a politician, any politician, pushes the right button. A soldier will say, “I don’t really know why we are here but I will do my duty for my commander in chief.”
Okay, I know, how dare I claim to know the motives of the politicians?
Because the politicians know the damage that is going on and they refuse to correct it. When there are politicians, outside of power, who try to help the military families, they get shot down by other politicians in power, Republican or Democrat.
For make no mistake, this is not about ideology, it is not about left or right, it is about power. It is about me, the president, having my war when I want it for the purposes I choose, for the good of the nation, and for my own political well being.
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s humanitarian solution was more boots on the ground. Huckabee said a bigger army would reduce the burden on this small segment of our society that is slowly being bled to death for the rest of us, the lives of the spouses and children, as well as the soldiers. But Huckabee’s solution was met with a storm of protest.
The incumbent George W. Bush took it as a personal criticism of his policy and the soldiers themselves rallied around Bush who had sent them into Iraq to make the world safe for democracy.
Now Ron Paul is getting criticism for calling for an end to all American initiated wars. He complains that we have 700 military bases with troops in 140 countries.
Can that be true? Paul is getting dismissive reactions from both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.
It is fascinating to hear the Obama White House defending its own, unique style of patriotic combat.
We are fighting in Afghanistan for women’s rights. Soldiers in the field are now actually accompanied by State Department officers. American women, in military garb are sitting down with Afghan women who are pried loose from their husbands to attend meetings outside their own homes.
Bush tried to impose American, Republican democracy on Iraq. Obama is trying to make good liberal, tolerant Democrats in Afghanistan.
It is so absurd. It would even be funny. Except for this tragic fact. Many, many people are dying, Afghans and Americans. Some soldiers are killing themselves. And others are feeling a pain worse than death as they split from their wives and children.
The American Empire now has its boots on the ground in 140 nations on earth. Not only does it take its toll on the few families that bear the physical cost, the financial cost of our ongoing wars is bankrupting the nation.
Our infrastructure, including our great interstate highway system, once the wonder of the world in the 1970s, has fallen to a level behind Europe and much of the developed world on the Pacific Rim.
Our educational system is a disgrace. Our environment is a mess. We are about to send the largest bloc of our population into retirement without the power to give them back the money they lent us in the Social Security program.
We have a new healthcare program at the expenses of taxes that are four times higher than the highest rate in Russia.
We put a new president in the White House to help us out of a mortgage crisis that had led to a deep recession and he raided the Treasury for his favored constituencies and refused to make the smallest tweaks to relieve desperate homeowners.
And now, administration after administration, Republican and Democrat, we systematically abuse the trust and loyalty of our own warriors.
We are sacrificing young men and women to stuff the ballot boxes of incumbent politicians, who are guaranteed re-election with a war, and line the pockets of their friends outside of government. It is not new. It is old. Very old.
It is Medieval, it is Roman, it is Greek and Egyptian and Persian and Chinese. But until now it has not been American.
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