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Finally Talking About Bringing Troops Home

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It seems it has taken the death of Osama Bin Laden to finally get politicians and journalists talking about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Before this week, if you wanted to read about the wars, you went to the back pages of the newspapers. The budget, and the politicians arguing about it, has taken the spotlight off of our brave soldiers. It's time we start another conversation. It's time to bring them home.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind) said, when asked about the size of a draw-down he would find acceptable in Afghanistan that "Perhaps 10,000-to-20,000 troops would satisfy our ability to fight terror -- that is, with intelligence backing." In the same article, Sen Carl Levin (D-Mich) said, Bin Laden's death only contributes to "the sense that the Afghans now are in an even better positive to take responsibility ... for their country." Then you have people like Rep. Steve Southerland (r-Fla) who said "I believe this is the time, right now, to double down." It seems everyone now has an opinion on Afghanistan.

But opinions are like elbows, everybody's got one. The only one that counts at this moment in time is President Obamas, and he has a decision coming up soon on how many soldiers to pull out of Afghanistan. It has taken the death of Osama Bin Laden to finally even get the conversation started. Recently I've noticed something missing in the newspapers and news shows on television. There were no articles or even pictures of the two wars we are now involved in the Middle East. With the 2012 elections coming up; with all the insults and slurs being tossed around at a sickening pace, no one is talking about the wars we are currently involved in. We have men and women being maimed and killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no one seems concerned.

The United States is now in its 10th year of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest wars in American history. With almost 5,000 men and women killed and more than 30,000 wounded, I fail to see why these wars are being ignored by the American media. Some of these troops are now home, missing limbs along with dozens of other ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) that makes them unable to function effectively in society. These soldiers will be supported by our tax dollars for the rest of their lives, yet the budget for the Veterans Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers are on the chopping block in future budget talks. This is a disgrace!

In these 10 years, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion on combat operations, including foreign aid, reconstruction projects, embassy costs and veterans' health care, and there is no end in sight. Just leaving out the loss of life, billions are being spent every week, yet the media and the politicians are not even mentioning it. There are no politicians standing up in the wells of congress demanding to bring our soldiers home. No journalists writing stories on how we have been there 10 years and if we haven't accomplished our objectives by now, then it's time to re-adjust our thinking. It's time we brought our brave soldiers home.

No matter who is elected in 2012, the process of negotiating a budget will come into play. How do you make a budget to pay down the debt that everyone is so "concerned" about, when you can't even figure in the wars and the costs that come with them? Billions are spent on wars and billions more are going to be spent on the veterans coming home from these wars. Many have injuries that cannot be seen -- families are living with these men and women who have PTSS. Broken marriages and suicides are at an all-time high .

There are hundreds of thousands of soldiers with PTSS. It is real and coming to a town near you. The veterans of Vietnam were sent home with a bottle full of pain pills and told to "man up" and get over it! Seeing your buddy killed. Seeing fellow soldiers blown up. Seeing women and kids bodies after an air strike has to be one of the most horrific things a person can witness. What kind of person would not be affected by this?

Now we have the men from Iraq and Afghanistan coming home. Many have done two, four, six or more combat deployments. Each time they go back, it gets that much worse. We sent these men and women over there time and time again. Many lost their families for being away for so long. Many lost everything and have nothing to come back to when they do come home. It is estimated that more than 250,000 Veterans are homeless.

This is our problem, and I don't hear anyone addressing it. Do we need jobs? Sure. Do we need to balance the budget? Sure. There are a hundred things that we need to do to fix this country. But forgetting a United States Soldier in his time of need is sure not one of them!

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My name is Kenneth Sibbett and I've been writing all my life. While writing mostly fiction and short stories, I have written many, many articles concerning the welfare of this country and the currents events going on around the world. I was born in (more...)
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