Monday, November 29, 2010

Echoes and Omens of the Forgotten War

As the "Forgotten War" on the Korean Peninsula heats up, and Sarah Palin proved that point last week by referring several times to North Korea as "our ally" ..I was reminded of a recent Kentucky news item. In September, Sgt. Charles Whitler was buried in his hometown of Cloverport..after being missing in action for sixty years!

He died in the Korean war in 1950. His body was found during a brief lull in our relations with North Korea a few years ago, and DNA testing recently confirmed his identity.

Will there be new Kentuckians, new Sgt. Whitlers to buried in the months ahead? As I write this, it's too early to tell, but let us hope sanity will allow both sides to avoid continuing armed conflict.

If we don't, kiss any chance to reduce the deficit goodbye. War, that topic so studiously avoided in the recent election campaign, must be addressed by both parties if either, and especially Republicians, are to make good on reducing the deficit. Forget the medicare-medicaid problems, the alleged social security imbalance, the entitlements debate...all peanuts compared to the one trillion, with a "t", cost of Iraq and Afghanistan.

If Mitch and Ben want to trim the deficit, let them address the war.

They might start with a recent book,"Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War" by Andrew Bacevich--a West Pointer, retired colonel, and Vietnam vet. For all too many years, he argues, America has lived by the doctrine that only we can "lead, save, liberate and ultimately transform the world." His "Washington Rules" can be read as being the same "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address.

Col. Bacevich proposes America should always live the freedoms we espouse at home, but not try to promote it through military action abroad. Set the world an example here (and we have much work to do to perfect our own democracy) before we start nation building elsewhere based on our own flawed example.

We just might trim the deficit in the process. And stop a few more Kentucky families from not knowing the fate of their loved ones for another sixty years.

I'm just sayin'....

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