--Paul Krugman on "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning."
Listen up. Today, The Daddy is feeling all the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Daddy knows: The Prez has made plans to withdraw our soldiers from this ill-begotten, illegal and reckless war. Yes, he has set a plan to have them all out in a year or so. And, yes, our soldiers have been told to pull back from the major cities like Baghdad and let the Iraqis do what they should have had the courage to do in the beginning: lead the fight for their own country. Still, our brave soldiers are dying there. Between discussions about the cause of Michael Jackson's death, who is going to get all the money from his estate, between speculations about who the new American Idol will be or whether Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie are breaking up, does anybody still care about our soldiers?
Have we gotten so tired of the Iraq and the Afghanistan war that we've forgotten that our soldiers that living human beings, our neighbors, our sons and daughters for Chris sake, are still fighting and dying in one war (Iraq) we never should have gotten into in the first place and another (Afghanistan) where it seems we started fighting in too late and where it's becoming increasingly a mystery as to why we are there (since the generals say it's unwinable militarily and since the people themselves seem to have no interest in us building a political infrastructure for them. They believe they already have one within their various tribes). The point here is that, however illegal or questionable, both wars continue unabated, yet our soldiers continue to fight bravely and therefore should not be forgotten. In fact, whether we are at work or on summer vacation, we should hold and keep them in the center of our heart. But what else should we do? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Simply refuse to listen to any of the politicians or pundits who cheer-leaded us into the Iraq war. This includes both spineless Democratic and Republican politicians who, except for Senator Bird of Virgina and few others, didn't ask questions or call for debate on the house or senate floor.
This includes not only present Republican leaders like Senators McCain of Arizona, Graham from South Carolina, Sessions of Alabama, and McConnell of Kentucky, but democrats like then Senator Clinton from New York and Senator Specter from Pennsylvania.
This includes all tv hosts and pundits of the Fox News channel with the possible exception of Juan Williams and tv hosts from MSNBC except Keith Olberman, Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schulz. It also includes pundits from CNN, another corporate network which cheeleaded our invasion and occupation of Iraq. Forget these networks and sellouts and look to more independent sources.
2. Support Iraqi and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA). It's a great veteran's organization. Look to them to find out ways to support our soldiers not only while they are at war but when they come home.
3. Read up on the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, the U.S. is making some of the same military and political mistakes the Soviet Union made before they were defeated there. Read independent outlets with quality reporters and experts on war, such TruthDig and Common Dreams. For example, Chris Hedges, former New York Times reporter, was a war correspondent for a long time. He also wrote "War is a Force That Gives Us meaning," a book about war and politics which provided perhaps the best explanation as to why former President Bush was reelected: because the American people did not want to go against their president during a time of war.
4. Read "War Without Purpose," Chris Hedges most recent piece on our war in Afghanistan in Truthdig (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090720_war_without_purpose/). In the piece, among other things, he states:
5. Read Scott Ritter, a former marine and chief weapons inspector. You may recall that he was part of a United Nations weapons commission team that was searching for weapons when Bush decided to bomb Iraq. He said Bush should have been given inspectors more time to search for weapons. His book, "Endgame," not only talks about what's wrong with U.S. foreign policy in the Persian gulf. It also provides alternative polices and approaches to working specific countries in the region, especially Iraq.
Ritter has written several other really good books about foreign policy:
*. “Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein;”
* “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change” and
* “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement.”
Like him or not, Ritter speaks the truth.
6. Remember the fallen soldiers in your local community. Learn their stories and share it with your kids and grand kids. They need genuine heroes. But these stories will also remind you that these soldiers were men and women-- will real human beings-- with hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. They just decided to serve their country.
One such person in The Daddy's community was Spc. Carlos Wilcox IV. Here's what an NCO had to say about him in Sunday's Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"It was with great dismay and horror that I learned of the death of SPC Carlos Wilcox and two of his fellow soldiers last week. I had the privilege of serving with SPC Wilcox during 2006-2007 while he was still assigned with the 204th Area Support Medical Company as a medic.
It struck me as I read the paper that very little is said about the lives of our fallen warriors and the impact that they make in the lives of others. I want to share a little part of his story.
As an NCO in the company, I was impressed with Carlos from the beginning. He was competent, caring and professional. He had a smile that could light up a room and a sense of humor that could bring the house down. He was especially well known for his Chuck Norris jokes.
While the relationships between lower enlisted men and women and their sergeants is a professional one, I found in him a good friend and someone who I would want to have near me in combat. There is no higher praise among soldiers...
I have lost a comrade, friend and brother. America has lost one of its finest.
SGT. DAVID VAN ENGEN, GOLDEN VALLEY"
To praraphrase Krugman, our soldiers took us the nationalist cause for America and went to war in Iran and Afghanistan. Have we forgotten them?