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Money Talks Louder than Wasted Lives

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 The Obama administration is about to open an "internal debate" to consider a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

When the president announced his 30,000 troop escalation of the war in December 2009, he also "promised" an over all troop reduction beginning in July, 2011.

Since that draw down promise was initially announced much comment has arisen over its merits and its size particularly coming from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (who is about to reign his post at the end of this month) and General David Petraeus (the general in charge of the Afghan campaign who will soon be leaving that post to replace Leon Panetta as the CIA chief who himself is slated to replace Gates at the Pentagon) who have expressed their disaffection for any "sizeable" troop draw down in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile the House last week barely defeated an amendment (215 to 204)that would have required the administration to come up with an accelerated deadline for complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. The disaffection for the decade old war was a bi-partisan vote reflecting voter's disenchantment for the war. Curiously, according to the polls, the reason given for voter's "annoyance" with the war was the drain it is having on U.S. resources and the "expense driving the federal budget deficit."

In past wars, casualties were the primary reasons given for the public's discontent and desire to end war. Now the wars cost is the driving force. What's going on here?

It seems the human death toll, of broken and maimed bodies, PTSD and the extraordinary high rate of suicides (and never mind the homelessness and broken marriages of serving members and veterans of the military) has been "overtaken" by the "economics of war" as American's primary difficulty with continuing the war.

How would a severely wounded veteran (from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars) feel about his fellow American's greater concern over the wars economics (overtaking his injuries and the death of his buddies he fought with) as their main worries?

Something has become warped here if these polls are to be believed. The majority's values have become twisted and deformed when $ signs become more important than human suffering because of war.

From here what it says (again if these polls have any truth to them) is most Americans are detached from the real harm of America's wars when the economic costs become people's overriding concern.

One wonders if those who sport those yellow ribbons on their cars that read "Support our Troops" are the ones in the forefront clamoring for the war to end because the cost of it is raising the federal deficit?

If that's true, basically it says most are unaffected by those who are killed, maimed, wounded and suffering directly from the horrors of war (and that's not even including those innocents we maim and kill in drone attacks and missile strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen).

Somehow as one reflects upon us Americans it brings to mind an old comic strip from years ago by Walt Kelly, creator of "Pogo", the sage swamp character who once uttered, "We have seen the enemy and he is us". [1] It still applies.            

[1] The reference comes from Walt Kelly's poster on the first Earth Day, 1970.

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