Many of us followed the midterm election campaigns pretty closely. Not too many of us, however, heard much mention of the wars we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was terribly unfortunate, but not really surprising. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans had much to gain by raising the issue. I find this insulting to the troops. They risk their lives daily. They are entitled to the knowledge that our country is having an open discussion of the wars. They deserve to know that we are doing all that we can, to get them home as quickly and as safely as possible.
Now that the elections are over, we are hearing a bit more about the wars. The New York Times recently reported that some Republicans may argue “for staying the course in Afghanistan and for holding off on withdrawing American troops.” President Obama, of course, has stated only that he would begin a phase-out of our troop levels, in July 2011. There is no date set for an actual withdrawal.
The war in Afghanistan has now begun its tenth year. It is the longest war in American history. More than one thousand Americans and more than eleven thousand Afghans have been killed in the war. This war has cost our country more than $360,000,000,000.
The Iraq war, too, continues. More than four thousand Americans have died in Iraq. More than one hundred thousand Iraqis have died in the war. The war has cost us more than $740,000,000,000. Long time antiwar activist, Tom Hayden, in a recent article for The Nation, indicates that the NY Times reported that the United States “even plans to orchestrate an invitation to remain in Iraq after the current 2011 deadline.”
Hayden writes, “The wars will continue in any event, with increasing risks of terrorist attacks on the US, bloody quagmires on the battlefields, and the US propping up unpopular regimes in Kabul, Baghdad, Islamabad and Yemen. The wars are unwinnable and unaffordable, but no one in power dares say it.”
For the full text of Tom Hayden’s article, click here.
For information about The Nation, and for a link to the magazine’s website, please see my listing in the Peace and Justice Online Directory of Resources.
Let’s work to end these wars, just as soon as possible. Let’s do it for the sake of our men and women in uniform. Let’s do it for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s do it so we can meet our critical needs at home. We need to create jobs, to rebuild our infrastructure, to strengthen public education, to enhance our health care system, and to reduce the deficit.