BY SHARON MARTIN
As Independence Day approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices our soldiers have made. How many of those sacrifices have been in vain?
War is a black hole that can swallow a nation. It hurts the economy and destroys families. A war that doesn’t secure peace or grant independence from tyranny doesn’t make a country stronger.
One does not have to be pro-war to be patriotic. Building our economy is patriotic. Giving the next generation a better country in which to live is patriotic. Peace is patriotic.
Fact: Through 2008, the United States spent 804,000,000,000 dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s $804 billion.
Fact: We have not raised taxes to pay for the wars, and the cost of the wars have not been included in the federal budget until this past year.
Fact: The money for our two wars has been borrowed and must be paid back.
Fact: Borrowing money to pay for wars increases their costs.
Fact: Thousands of people, ours and theirs, have died, many of them civilians.
Fact: Wounded soldiers must be given the care and treatment they deserve for laying their lives on the line for us. Our commitment to our soldiers and their families does not end when the war is over. We are passing this financial burden on to our children and grandchildren.
My uncle, Lawrence Edge, died at the Battle of the Bulge. His picture in the living room and Grandma’s stories were all I knew of him. His absence and my grandmother’s grief taught me the true cost of war. Can we afford to spend more lives and our children’s futures?
It’s time for a new peace movement. We can’t just turn tail and run from a fight we’ve started, so let’s put our best thinkers to work devising a way to bring the soldiers home.
During peacetime, a nation grows its economy and moves forward. Soldiers and other patriots can work to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and financial system and still sleep in their own beds at night.
That is my devout wish for this Independence Day.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer