August 31, 2010
A veteran's perspective makes it clear that two major points must be made in response to President Obama's announcement regarding combat troops leaving Iraq.
First, there is no such thing as "non combat troops." It is a contradiction in terms. It is internally inconsistent. It is illogical. It is simply not true.
Ask any of the millions of men and women who went through basic training and they can tell you that every U.S. troop anywhere in the world was indoctrinated and trained in the basics of combat. While in Iraq, the transition from mechanics or communications back to combat-ready soldier takes but an order. "Non-combat troops" is simply the latest in a long line of military euphemisms meant to obscure painful reality.
The second point can best be made by drafting a section of the President's remarks for him. If Veterans For Peace were to do that it would read something like this.
"And now, fellow Americans, let us begin a new era of candor and honesty about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specifically, I'm referring to the true costs of war something that must be considered if we are to judge if continued war is worth it.
You have seen that the cost to taxpayers of these wars has exceeded one trillion dollars, nearly all of which has been considered "off budget,' appropriated by extraordinary or "supplemental' spending bills. It may be hard to believe that, large though that figure may be, it is but the smaller portion of what we will spend in total.
We are already investing unprecedented amounts in Veterans Administration staff and facilities to try and cope with the millions of men and women who have cycled through a war zone deployment and of course many have been through multiple deployments.
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