IT IS NOW JANUARY 4th, 2007.
Most Americans have just finished celebrating their holiday season and have spent time with their families and friends, watching football or playing in the snow or just being together. The spending frenzy that overtakes this country during this time of year has slowed down and now most people will be facing the task of how to actually pay for their indulgence. Again, most Americans simply add to their ever increasing credit debt and move on to the next spending spree. It's the American way.
But there is a dark cloud hanging over the American landscape. It is a cloud that is bringing death and injury home each and every day and originates in Washington DC and travels through Iraq and Afghanistan.
1,386 days ago the United States (along with a limited coalition) began an invasion of Iraq. The motivations and justifications for this invasion are shrouded in mystery and riddled with misinformation and outright lies (which is not unique in the annals of warfare). The point is that the Untied States has now found itself mired in an "war" in the middle of a country and a region that doesn't trust us and doesn't want us meddling in their lives. Again, this is certainly not unique when reviewing the policy history of the United States. This time we seem to be facing a resistance (to our supposed ideas about how the people of the world should live and what they should believe) that will prove to have a much broader global impact than when we engaged in the debacle that was Vietnam. If the situation isn't calmed down in the very near future (or at least contained) the Military Industrial Complex that planned and implemented these past four years (and the past 60 years of military action and control) will get exactly what they have wanted which seems to be an endless and all out war across the globe.
As of today, 3003 United States military personnel have died in Iraq and an additional 22,000 have been wounded. Those figures are the ones being reported and may not be fully accurate. Those figures do not seem to include casualties in Afghanistan which doesn't get much attention these days.
3003 AMERICAN LIVES have ended!! The lives of thousands of family members and friends have been changed forever! 22,000 AMERICANS have been wounded and their lives and the lives of hundreds of thousands of family members and friends have been changed forever!
There are many who argue that this sacrifice is simply part of the "cost of freedom" and no different than the sacrifices made by more than 130,000 in World War I or over 400,000 in World War II or 37,000 plus in Korea or 55,000 plus in Vietnam and many others in smaller battles. If we just consider the term "sacrifice" in the most basic understanding of the word that argument might stand. The key distinction (in my humble opinion) is in the determination of needless sacrifice versus actual defense of our freedom. It is in this area where the American mindset and opinion has been manipulated to the extreme.
Sacrifice in the face of LITERAL DEFENSE of this country (and not perceived or vague threats) should be understood and acceptable to all Americans. The key is how to determine when the defense of our freedom is literal and when it is just a furthering of the MIC agenda. In the coming days Americans will hear and learn that contrary to the "public will" and the results of our recent elections the President (controlled by the back room power (aka; MIC)) as Commander in Chief will inform the citizens of America that rather than starting a removal of US troops from Iraq, HE has determined that the BEST course for America is to escalate the conflict by INCREASING the troop levels in the form of a "surge" (we always like to disguise things with new terms). He will give us the same line about how this "war" simply must be "won" OR ELSE. The implied "or else" is that terrorist armies would be invading the shores of America in massive numbers should we leave Iraq. This policy of projecting fear has been used throughout our political history. Study the "fear" speech of the McCarthy years in the early and mid 1950's or the communist scare tactics that "justified" our 12 year involvement in Vietnam or the "Evil Empire" frenzy that was created during the Reagan years that allowed a huge buildup of military spending. Americans have always been easily controlled by a well planned fear campaign so the tactics of the current President and his minions are not surprising at all. Is there an actual hatred for Americans? YES. Does this "danger" need to be controlled? Absolutely. The only question that matters is how we go about protecting ourselves and to determine when the sacrifice of American lives is literally necessary. I personally believe that situation should only be accepted as a last resort. I personally believe that we Americans have become too accepting of the deaths of our troops. They seem to have become just a daily statistic on the news or internet. Many will continue to point out that the 3,003 deaths in Iraq pale when compared to the 55,000 in Vietnam or 37,000 in Korea or 400,000 plus in World War II. They will tell you that the current "war" deaths is relatively minor and when only making a numbers comparison that is a fact. My question is; "What's the point of the comparison?"
The sacrifice of each and every American should at least get the collective attention of American citizens. Each death should matter and be a call for real justification of our actions. What are we doing? What is the plan? What, exactly, does "winning" mean? Is there a number of American dead that will become too many? Is America and its people willing to literally kill EVERY person on the planet that wishes us harm or doesn't like us?
Listen well in the days and weeks ahead and you will see and hear the President trying to convince you of the crisis we face and despite all reason and dissenting opinions the BEST "way forward" (another catch phrase) is to commit additional troops in a "surge" to gain control of Baghdad (something that we've been trying to do for over three years). He will tell us (AGAIN) how the Iraqi forces are being trained to "take over" for American (and coalition) forces. He will tell us (AGAIN) that Iraq will become an oasis of democracy in the middle east and therefore, democracy (our version) will surely spread throughout the region. He will tell you that more sacrifice is necessary and how proud he and the nation is of the bravery of those who will soon give their lives to our cause.
The President will NOT tell you that the "war" that we've gotten ourselves so involved in has almost nothing to do with terrorism (at least the terrorism we should be fighting) and is really all about the internal religious struggle between factions within Iraq and surrounding nations. The President will NOT tell you that our presence is really all about preserving the oil interests and has very little to do with the welfare of the citizens of Iraq. The President will NOT give us a specific definition of what "winning" actually means. The President will NOT heed to the "will of the people" here in America. The President will NOT change the stubborn direction that he (and his minions) has taken America and its citizens during the past five years. The President will NOT fully explain to us why, if America is actually at risk of a terrorist "army" invasion on American soil, he and his administration has NOT implemented the steps necessary to actually prevent such an "invasion".
The new Congress, now "controlled" by the Democrats will undoubtedly make many speeches telling us how they wish to work with the President in a "bipartisan" manner and how they are going to make things better and how they are opposed to any "surge" of troops in Iraq. All of this will just be a show. The hard fact is that unless the Congress is willing to cut off funding for the "war" (and risk a huge political backlash), the President can and will continue the "war" and all that involves with little consideration to any opinions or suggestions that his policy may be wrong. Real protection of the United States and its citizens will always be the primary duty and responsibility of our President, the Congress, and our military. The critical question that defines that responsibility is (and will be) just how and when to commit US military personnel and exactly when America is threatened to the point where such actions are understood and accepted by the vast majority of American citizens. As that issue is debated Americans (and countless Iraqi civilians) will continue to be "sacrificed".
Americans may now be so used to the sacrifice and the mourning (we seem to love the mourning) that the collective "we" will continue to accept the deaths and the carnage for many years to come. Sadly, it's becoming the American way.