I'm a veteran and I like to think that I keep up with war matters and how they affect my country. But I was somewhat surprised when I read the story on how our current wars have impacted London, Ky. to note that the war on terrorism at almost ten years is as long as WW1, WW2, and the Korean War---combined.
That sobering thought comes from a report Sunday in our two major papers. It was done by the McClatchy Newspapers, owners of the Herald-Leader, and the fact that it also appeared in its arch rival the Louisville Courier-Journal, attests to its importance.
Two things stand out in this report: (1) the patriotism of people of the London area--- who sent their sons and daughters away to various wars in a much greater percentage than might have been expected based on the size of the area. (Almost everyone there knows someone or some family with people in service. The report notes, however, "There are large swaths of the American public that don't directly know soldiers serving overseas". One of those "swaths", incidentally, is our Congress.)
(2) Unfortunately this also means a high incidence of disability and medical problems for returning veterans and their families. "The area has one of the highest rates in the country of veterans collecting disability payments for post traumatic stress disorder; one of the costliest and most prevalent ailments to emerge from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts."
And it's not just the veterans. The report mentions problems of alcohol, stress, etc. with families and friends of those who died and also who survived.
This is but part of the cost of war that Presidents and Congresses..and the people..seldom take into account in the fervor of starting a new war...but it is very, very real.
Now that we have "won" in Iraq--at a horrible and tragic cost for a war we entered based on misinformation at the best--and lies from our top officials at the worse--maybe it's time to rethink our Afghan role---especially in light of Pres. Karzai's recent statement that in any future conflict Afghanistan would side with Pakistan, not the US; of the drone raids across the border that keep on killing innocent civilians, or even Pakistan soldiers, despite repeated attempts by our military to limit these deaths; or the fruit of the poppy that shows up on American streets because our GIs are told to look the other way when finding them in their world center--Afghanistan.
Want to save $110 Billions a year? That's Billions, the yearly cost of our war in Afghanistan, so maybe we don't have to cut funds for education, or social security, or health? Get out of Afghanistan now, not in 2014, or even partially in 2012...Now.
And then, hopefully, no more stories about sacrifice and death in London, Ky., or Wilkes-Barre, or Keokuk, or all the 16 Lexingtons spread across this great nation.
I'm just sayin'...