We weren't going to post Wright Salisbury''s latest article because it doesn't talk about Iraq. We deplore the American penchant for denial, and each new debacle seems to enable the U.S. public to ignore the disasters we have caused in the past. In some ways our incursion into Afghanistan serves to take our minds off the devastation we brought to the Iraqi people.
Our use of violence in Afghanistan as well as Iraq helps us ignore the growing number of American families who simply do not have enough to eat. We are talking about some 49 million Americans, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
However, Wright's impassioned piece deserves to be read. We agree with him. We think you should take the time to see if you do also. And if so, then take at least the minimal action of letting your elected representatives know how you feel. It will only take you a few minutes, and the lives you save and the pain you help avoid will be worth it.
Boots on the ground or food on the table?
At $1,000,000 per year to put a soldier in Afghanistan and unemployment topping 10%, which do we value more — fighting a war almost certainly doomed to failure or feeding, clothing, housing and providing health care to our own people?
Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
Think outside the box, Mr. President
Just because you inherited two wars from your mentally- and morally-challenged predecessor, you are not obliged to continue them. Back in the 60’s, people used to ask, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” That was in the Vietnam era, when young people were being drafted. Lyndon Johnson sat in the White House suffering severe depression as people marched out front, chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?”
He was so depressed, he declined to run for another term, and Richard Nixon became the next president. Hardly an improvement.
But that did put an end to the Selective Service System. From then on, if we fought a war, we would not draft college kids. We would use our National Guard, which was peopled by middle class folks who wanted to earn a little extra money.
Do something unprecedented: Use your head.
I’m serious. No one has ever declared a war over before his country was definitively defeated. No one. Not Germany, not England or Spain or Portugal of France. Be the first to admit that your country can’t win a war and, more than that, recognize your error and end the war in Afghanistan and our continued presence in Iraq.
You have every excuse in the world, and except for a few right wing nuts, you would be applauded for saving the country from disaster. If you need a reason to give the American people for the decision, here are six reasons, any one of which alone provides sufficient grounds for ending the war.
1) Our allies don’t want to send more than token forces, if that. What do they know that we don’t? Well, for one thing, they know the war is very unpopular with their people. A majority of Americans also think we should get out of Afghanistan.
2) Our country is not at peril from the Taliban, and Al Queda is a stateless organization that can find sanctuary elsewhere and is doing so.
3) What is so special about Afghanistan? If we are freeing people from oppression, why did we not intervene in Rwanda, where a million people were killed in a war between the Tutsis and the Hutus?
4) The government of Harmid Karzai is deeply unpopular and untrusted by the people of Afghanistan, because it is corrupt and shows no tendency whatever to change its ways.
5) We can’t allow more of our young people to be killed or wounded in wars of questionable necessity.
6) And finally, we can’t afford this war. Our economy is in tatters.
Don’t be fooled by reassurances from our military commanders. Generals fight. That’s what they do for a living. But tell them to stop fighting and they will stop, because you are the Commander in Chief.
You decide, Mr. President.
Wright Salisbury lost his son-in-law, Edward Hennessy, Jr. in the 9/11 attack. He is also the founder of The Alliance for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to building bridges of understanding between people of different faiths.