BY SHARON MARTIN
Dad tried to explain the difference between murder and killing in war, but I wasn’t buying it. I still don’t.
We humans have always been conflicted about war. I’m human. I cheered the soldiers during Desert Storm, although looking back, I’m not sure I had it right.
It is justice when one defends a friend; I’m not sure saving an oil source is.
I prayed for our soldiers during the second Iraq war, a war that was neither necessary nor right. I mourned for the Iraqi dead along with our own.
For those who cheer our dubious victories, there is still this practical matter: wars bankrupt countries. Sure, a few grow wealthy dealing in the tools of war. But the citizens pay for that wealth. It isn’t a fair arrangement.
Which brings us to the fiscal cliff.
We need a strong military, one that says to another country, “It’s not worth the price to attack them.” We need a prepared National Guard to defend our borders and to come to the aid of citizens in the event of catastrophe.
But do we need bases all over the world? We aren’t the world’s policeman; it is much less costly in money and lives to be the world’s friend.
It’s cheaper and more humane to supply aid – doctors, refugee camps, food and medical supplies – than it is to supply soldiers and weaponry. And when we must fight, we don’t have to go it alone.
Already this century, we’ve fought two wars on borrowed money. We send men and women into harm’s way. When they come home, we tell them we’re too broke to provide them with the services some will need for the rest of their lives.
We don’t need automatic cuts; we need to get our priorities straight.
The soldiers who put their lives on the line for us deserve our support. And we need to think twice before we send anyone else into danger.
We can’t be naïve enough to believe that war will never be necessary, but we also can’t believe that war is ever good for us. War is like taking chemo to kill cancer; we only do it if we must to survive. Any other reason is idiocy.
Let’s stop wasting money and lives on idiocy and rebuild our country from the inside out.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer