Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maybe I've lost focus

Maybe I, like the rest of the country, have gotten too self-indulgent with the election and the economy going tits up. Have we all forgotten the war(s)? Sort of a redundant question as we forgot Afghanistan years ago and that's why we're losing. I know that self-interest drives politics, but we've gotten to a pretty ridiculous point of contradiction. Ignoring these problems doesn't make them go away. Every speech about how the surge in Iraq working distracts from the idea that we haven't won the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqis that we were told were crucial to lasting peace in the region. It also distracts us from the the point that we've reached a tipping point in Afghanistan. We've never even attempted the "nation building" that we tried in Iraq. That would constitute an actual focus on what many concieve to be the real "War on Terror". A focus that we've ignored.

The Bush Administration used to repeat the claim that if we don't support the troops then we weren't real Patriots. Yet, since the inception of these wars, there has never been a concerted effort to actually support the troops. We've sent sub-par supplies when we've actually sent them. This has no rational basis because we've spent an obscene amount of money on these wars, Iraq in particular, yet we hear horror stories from returning soldiers over and over about inadequate equipment. Aren't we the finest outfitted fighting force in the world?

Speaking of returning troops, when is the last time you saw one? I don't mean in person, but on television, and I mean a soldier, not a General? For all the claims of a liberally biased media, I've still yet to see the image of coffins coming home, the iconic, polarizing image from Vietnam. These wars have no human face and that's why it seems that no one cares. Who is to blame for that? Surely the liberal media? Or quite possibly, the administration which has continually used other issues as a red herring to draw the people happily away from an ugly war that has gone on longer than any in American History?

Active duty military are donating to Obama 6 to 1 according to a new study. In light of that, who is "Joe Six Pack" actually supporting? If these are the freedom fighters that we profess to admire and support, maybe we should follow their example. The questions I ask myself every time I watch the news bother me. I'm sure many people would love to accuse me of being un-American if I put my thoughts out there, but I'm not concerned about peoples' opinions. I'm more concerned about the direction of this nation. Therefore, here are a few of my questions:

When are we going to actually start supporting the troops in a meaningful way?

What's the status of the G.I. Bill?

What condition are the VA hospitals these days?

Are we supporting them in a meaningful way or is this business of yellow ribbon magnets and flag bins all just lip service?

Ask yourself if putting county first means going along with failed policies of the last four years or re-evaluating our policy and position in the new world. Then, vote your conscience, but don't blindly vote party lines without actually doing some soul-searching before pulling that lever.

I've decided on my vote, I just hope this new nastiness in the campaign does not render it useless again, like it did 8 and 4 years ago. Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, and some of Thomas Jefferson's and John Adams' writings. Then come back and tell me if we're going in the right direction. I haven't met anyone in my 31 years who can read these objectively and say that the divisive, extreme viewpoint politics that have taken over this country are good for us.

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