Costs of war need attention


Watch the local TV news or read the local papers and you will see stories about a bus crash in Portugal, house fire in Tennessee or a mud slide in Mexico. What you won’t see is the story of the defeat of American military might in Afghanistan — how our rapid response invasion evolved into a “soft footprint,” through counter-insurgency to “hearts and minds” and lately a massive air war. How, despite the sanguinary outlay of human life, and decimation of national treasure, our armed forces have been wrestled into a fight they will not win. And how the enemy Taliban, an insignificant percentage of the population, generally unpopular, poorly equipped and scattered about the countryside has outlasted the USA.

This matters, not because of the inevitable comparison to our disaster in Vietnam, but for the fact we have been forced to pay for this war and the constant state of war over the past 71 years without a serious discussion of why. Why can’t we have universal health care or high-speed transcontinental rail? Why don’t we enjoy free university tuition or subsidized trade school training or paid community service? Because we allow the war machine to take one trillion dollars per year from our economy and then complain because we are taxed too much but get so little for it. Why this great uproar over machine gun ownership and so little rage over the pillage of our national treasury for war? And why is this not part of our national — and local — media discussion?

Mike Linkof

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