Sunday, March 27, 2011
Make War No More!
The wars need to stop.
We now live in the world described by Orwell, a world of perpetual war. A handful of citizens fight all over the globe ostensibly to protect a larger society which sadly is little aware of the true costs and stakes of the conflict, save for the banal bickering that attends the political class here on the home front.
The new conflict in Libya has convinced me that it's time for the United States to bring its troops home from the battlefields of the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. The war in Afghanistan was a worthy effort in the early years, but the rationale for it weakens with each passing day. We are now stranded it seems in an no-win conflict which projects endlessly into the future. Iraq was a mistaken venture from the very beginning, and the sooner we extricate ourselves the better for all involved. Now it seems Libya beckons, and perhaps Yemen beyond that as revolution has taken hold in many lands across those distant continents.
We need to get our men and women home, our weapons need to come back to our shores and we need to get about the business of revitalizing our own country. We are far from weak as many strident critics would suggest as they paint pictures of ruin and collapse it the near term, but we are a country which seems to have lost its focus and to some extent its way.
That is because from the very beginning of these conflicts, from the moment the towers fell, no sacrifice from the greater populace has been asked for nor required to make the war efforts stable and ultimately successful. Only a few have been asked to sacrifice while the many stumble on about their lives with little awareness of the violence done in their name and for their sakes. And increasingly the connection between the conflicts over there and the need for security here are severed.
We have fallen into a state of perpetual conflict, a distant war without end and without consequence for the masses. America has been goaded into becoming a land where shared sacrifice is eschewed in favor of greed, where a national mission has been dismissed to funnel resource to the bottom lines of the new aristocracy that seeks to carve an isolated existence for itself apart from the greater society.
War has become an echo, resembling the thoughtless neverending conflicts described so many decades ago by the eloquent and prescient Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. The war rages, but we know nothing of it, save for the few who served. They are to be commended for their willingness to put their desires behind the needs of the greater requirements of the culture, but sadly that culture seems all too willing to forget their efforts and focus instead on the fads and trends of a culture increasingly obsessed with nonsense and ridiculous entertainments.
We cannot fight wars forever. The "Long War" described by some years ago is upon us, and it's up to us to resist that call. War cannot be the binding agent of our society, it must become something greater, and citizens must be called upon to give. Taxation needs to become not a curse, but an opportunity, a means by which the individual can give to the greater effort to support those who live near and far, and to support those in particular to who serve in his or her name very far away.
We need to become a people who support one another. We need to become a people who support our troops in more than rhetoric, and we need to do those troops the greatest service of all. We need to bring them home to their families.
We need peace in our time. (I know who said this first, but we live in a new time and those sentiments as misplaced as they were then, have new saliency in the new day.)
NOTE: I felt compelled to write this. Yesterday as I drove across the state and listened to the news, I became convinced that it's time for a change in the way things are done. I apologize to those who expect diversion here and not political rants, but I needed to get this off my chest. Regular programming will continue soon.