Sunday, June 05, 2005

Not My Child!

Not My Child
By: JOHN F. YOUMANS

It is natural for parents to protect their children. But we see or hear in the media almost on a daily basis where children of others have been killed, disabled, hurt or abused. The parents reading this frequently think, I'm glad it's not my child. Imagine how you would feel if it was your child. Imagine the terrible trauma, heartache and pain if you were told your child was dead, disabled for life, badly hurt or abused. It is also only natural then to ask, Why my child?

There is a profound statement being made in both of the above cases; the loss is much easier to accept as long as it is someone else's loss. The closer we are to the loss, the more difficult it is to accept. And conversely, the further we are from it, the easier it is.

Out Of sight, Out Of Mind

Unfortunately, the same theme runs true in relation to the number of our children being killed in Iraq. If it is not our children, our brothers and sisters, our parents being killed in Iraq, it is somehow more acceptable. The further removed we are, the longer it continues, the more acceptable it becomes to accept the horrific loss.

That is why we don't see the more than 1,600 dead soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. That is why we don't see the more than 14,000 wounded and disabled soldiers--Out of sight, out of mind.

To those who have suffered losses in the Iraq war and said, Why my child? The truth is nightmarish! Arms and legs cut off; Eyes put out. Flesh burned; Intestines ripped out; Backs broken; Skulls crushed; Lives lost; Families torn apart; Homes destroyed; Children left without parents; Parents never able to see their children again; Wives without husbands; Husbands without wives; Souls snuffed into eternity; Emotional scars that never heal. But most of us are far removed from the pain. These are the realities of war.

No National Sacrifice

It appears the only people sacrificing for the war are the very patriotic Soldiers and their families who are fighting it. The rest of the country is quite immune. While many wave American flags and stick “Support the Troops” logos on their cars to show their patriotism, they don't really sacrifice. As the affluent enjoy massive tax breaks during this very expensive war and as corporate America reaches record profit levels, Disabled Veterans are being told the country can't afford to provide adequate VA healthcare and other benefits.

In public, this administration waves the flag but behind closed doors, and [on] our Soldiers backs; they continue to fight the war on the cheap when it comes to directly "supporting the troops."

Why Are We Still Fighting?

There is absolutely no doubt about the patriotism, sacrifice and dedication of our military. They have performed admirably. But that is expected. Like it or not, they are following orders. But are they defending our nation?

After 9/11, many young men and women ran to join the military to fight Al Qaeda and destroy those who attacked our country. It was very similar to our reaction following the attack on Pearl Harbor. But for all practical purposes, the military war in Afghanistan is over.

The Iraq war is a much different story. There were no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was not preparing to drop a nuclear weapon on our soil. There were no threats of mushroom clouds. Saddam Hussein was not in cahoots with Bin Laden on 9/11. But Iraq is where more than 1,600 Soldiers and Marines have died and more than 14,000 have been disabled or wounded. The majority of American citizens are unaffected and making no sacrifice while others are making record profits hand-over-fist through the Military Industrial Complex.

Volunteers Decreasing

We are running out of warriors. They, as well as their equipment, are worn out. A "back door draft" prevents Soldiers from leaving the military service when their enlistments are up and many are forced to serve two or more tours of duty fighting in Iraq; So much for [today’s] voluntary [military]. Recent reports indicate that growing opposition to the Iraq war, as well as fear of death or injury for a questionable cause, are beginning to have a serious effect on recruitment. Where are all those patriotic flag wavers that say they support the war now? Why aren't they lining up to fight and die in this never-ending war?

Even if Iraq does settle down in five or 10 years, odds are there will be more wars to follow. Odds are they are already being planned by those who don't have to participate or sacrifice. Taking on the job of bringing democracy and freedom to the entire world is an interminable commitment.

George Bush said on Feb. 2, during his State of the Union Address, the attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.

Solution to This War

The surest way to extinguish the bloodlust of this administration is to initiate the draft. We need to insist those who are sending our young to fight and die, and those near to them, also get involved in the fighting. Share the sacrifice.
If there is a draft to supplement our voluntary force that will be needed to conquer and dominate all these evil-doers throughout the world, there will be uprisings and public demonstrations this country hasn't seen since Vietnam.
All the people who now say they support the war will have a change of heart when it hits home. Until then, or until the American people wake up to the fact that war profiteers are merely manipulating and using them, our military personnel will continue to be used, not as defenders of America, but as expendable commodities in the relentless pursuit by internationalists to establish a global economy. And they openly admit it.

On May 15, Condoleezza Rice said, "'We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the Middle East will be whole, and free and democratic and at peace.''

That is much different than what was told to those making the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq when they were sent to be killed. I am sure no one Condi Rice knows gave up his or her life in Iraq. Unlike previous wars, the "need to serve" in this highly unpopular war is not shared by our present administration or those getting rich off of it.

Mothers across this country need to stand up and shout, Not my child, Parents need to recall a famous Willie Nelson song (and change the last word) until every American citizen shares in the patriotic sacrifice, burden, and sorrow being placed upon our Soldiers, Marines and their families to defend America and Iraq: Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Soldiers.


John Youmans is a disabled veteran and a journalist/columnist for Military.com thru which he may be contacted: http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Youmans_Index,00.html

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