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We Can Do Better

by Sudhama Ranganathan Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM

A video showing US Marines urinating on dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan came to worldwide media attention just this month. Apparently, the dead Taliban soldiers were killed by the US soldiers. At this point it is not known what precisely the video was intended for, outside of demeaning the Taliban fighters. Not much is publicly known about the US soldiers themselves, but from the video they appear to be young and obviously not thinking clearly.

We Can Do Better...
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There is no excuse for the actions of the soldiers, but when you are forced to serve multiple tours in a war lasting ten years what do you become? When you're shooting at people and get shot at by people all the time and for some on an almost daily basis what does that turn people into? At what point do they cease to view the enemy as humans and more as targets. Though they may try after so long, is it possible for all soldiers to make that separation. It has not just been their job, it has been their life.

They don't come home at the end of the day take a shower and sit down to help the kids with their homework while their spouse cooks dinner. These are people that were forced to fight when the mission was all but abandoned by the Bush Administration. This was confirmed by former President Bush when in March of 2002 a reporter asked him, “'in your speeches now you rarely talk about or mention Osama Bin Laden. Why is that? Also can you tell the American people any more information if you know that he is dead or not?' President Bush replied, 'Well, deep in my heart I know the man's o the run if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. We hadn't heard from him in a long time. […] Terror is bigger than one person. He's a person who's now been marginalized. His network […] his host government has been destroyed. […] This is a fella who's willing to commit youngsters to their death and he himself tries to hide if in fact he's hiding at all. So I don't know where he is. I just don't spend that much time on him. To be completely honest with you.'” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apLVd7_66ds&feature=related) Shortly thereafter the buildup to the invasion of Iraq began.

President Obama swore to finish the job of seeking the justice that was the premise for the initial invasion of Afghanistan in the first place, and that was a good idea, though it would have been better to have pulled out troops from Iraq immediately say in 2009-2010. There are those that say we should have stayed longer, but those are the same people complaining about the debt we now owe. They say it is a national security risk and that we have put our security in the hands of a potential enemy by incurring more and more debt.

Yet in a time of such economic hardship how is it prudent to keep even one expensive billion dollar war going let alone two? And if more government spending means putting ourselves more in hoc to China as they keep repeating in speeches across the nation and on TV, then who does keeping the wars going put us in debt to? Where's the benefit? The whole “Iraq will pay for itself through oil profits” idea turned out to be pie in the sky. When a US member of Congress suggested they pay us back for all the money we sunk into their infrastructure etc, they not only showed a lack of interest they behaved as though they were insulted and angered at the very thought.

So the billions annually are coming from where again? Must be China right? Or at least some of it, for how could only spending on everything but the boondoggle in the sand that is Iraq be the stuff US debt to China is made of?

Of course President Obama has yet to make good on his 'find Bin Laden then leave' pledge which so many of his supporters from the 2008 elections expected. Hopefully he will be a man of his words not another lying politician that says anything to get into office believing people are inherently stupid. Of course the same people that wanted to stay in Iraq indefinitely want to stay in Afghanistan forever also.

They want to maintain US troop levels in foreign lands that there are no longer any threat and haven't been since the end of the Cold War in some cases and in others since the end of WWII. Like the president they want to increase military spending and troop presence in the Pacific to motor boats around that look muscly and proclaim by design, 'I crush you girly communist boats.'

What none of those that advocate for such spending tell us is what the price tag for all that theater is expected to be, and how much it's supposed to cost us. After all, wealthy corporations and billionaires aren't going to be footing the bill for this. They want us to. These are the same people that want to stop borrowing from China because it's dangerous. In addition to telling us exactly how much they want us to contribute to the break up to make up love boat parade, as none of them have plans to stop doing business with China, why don't they tell us where they plan to get the money?

Why don't they put up actual figures? We have been getting promises to reduce military spending and wars for years now and the only reason Iraq stopped was because they refused President Obama's conditions for keeping our troops there past the Bush timetable. We have seen two additional conflicts entered into under this president and his opponents are all right on board with him save one or two.

Where is all this money going to come from? Furthermore while we have been spending money to help continue the war, Exxon and Shell or whomever continue to rake it in from Iraq, even though American's don't get hired to work those oil fields and don't get a return on their substantial investment or from mining revenues in Afghanistan or profits from inexpensive factory work in Eastern Asia and Southeastern Asia.

While that is happening our schools suffer. These are the real battlegrounds for the future of this country. While pretty boats, the vast majority of which will never do anything but burn fossil fuels and house sailors, patrol waters in the Pacific, China is passing us like the Road Runner does the Coyote with an education standard that is sharpening and expanding every year while we saddle our kids with ineffective, burdensome, dud-like school systems that might as well have the name ACME slapped on the side to express what a joke our politicians on both sides of the isle think of the nation's youth.

To them they are just the guarantors of payments on the debt they incur today to pay for their short sightedness. Being as more than half of the people elected to national office are millionaires, including the president, they don't have to worry about their kid's educations. They don't understand how concerned we are that our kids will lack the level of education necessary to have the kind of jobs that can enable them to pay that debt for their useless boats and more importantly to build a future for themselves and this nation. Which politician is addressing that with more than lame rhetoric?

All the while we keep spending on a useless war that is leaving good American soldiers battle scarred, because of the lack of political will in Congress to stand up and say “enough!” These are young people that deserve a future and making rich people that own mining companies more rich so politicians can have nice big donations in their coffers is no justification to force them to stay there shooting and being shot at every day in some cases. So much so that they can at times forget their moral compasses as though they left them at home and can no longer remember where they put them. Now those soldiers that filmed themselves urinating on dead Taliban soldiers for what was their obvious amusement are not representative of most US Marines.

But the War In Afghanistan has seen this incident. It has seen our military contractors getting caught arranging sex parties for old men wanting to have sex with boys dressed as girls, some as young as six and eight years old, in order to keep these men doing what we want them to. It has seen a muddled mission extended beyond the goal of finding Bin Laden to ensure rich mining concerns get richer by securing land there for them to extract resources from, which the people paying for the war and seeing their loved ones scared, maimed and killed will never see a dime from and Americans will never get hired to work. It has seen untold millions to billions stolen and taken by corrupt officials as has happened in Iraq. It has seen as yet untold numbers of civilians caught in the crossfire.

America has spent enough trying to make wealthy corporations more wealthy by forcing tax payers to spend money on maintaining troop levels in places it hasn't been necessary since the end of WWII and the Cold War. It has spent enough on Iraq which we are slated to continue spending billions on annually via “private military forces” and the largest foreign diplomatic corps in any nation. It has spent enough chasing an already dead Bin Laden in Afghanistan and who knows what now. This has been promoted by people that say our biggest national security threat is both debt and China. By maintaining all those things we just incur more debt and to China to boot. The people that say that are either stupid or could care less.

We need to bring the money home and focus on industry here, job creation here and most importantly education of all our children from the poorest to the wealthiest not to be kind or humanitarian, but to be ready to take on the challenges of an ever better educated China and Russia that are both speeding past us like a bullet train while we run around in circles trying to keep our steam engines going for reasons we still know not.

Surely we can do better.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.

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