It is a pleasure and a privilege to be at the MIC @ 50 Conference with you at beautiful Guilford College. I want, especially, to thank Judith, Bill, and Christian, for so ably presenting us with an overview of the Military Industrial Complex, and providing a context for the presentations, panels, workshops, and discussions that we will enjoy over the weekend.
In our major wars since World War Two, by official figures, the US has lost at least 101,000 soldiers killed, and 296,000 troops wounded. Here’s the breakdown:
- In Korea, 38,000 dead, 103,000 wounded.
- In Vietnam, 58,000 dead, 153,000 wounded
- In Desert Storm, 294 killed, 458 wounded
- In Iraq, 4600 dead, 31,000 wounded (817 from NC)
- In Afghanistan, 1455 dead, 9200 wounded (273 from NC)
There were several smaller wars that we’ll have to skip over due to time constraints. But 101,000 killed and 296,000 wounded are substantial losses, and we grieve for all of them. Read more
To the Editor:
It is very true that earmark spending has come to symbolize runaway spending by the Federal Government (N&O, 11/26). But, why are Republicans in Congress concerned about spending millions of dollars on domestic civic projects? After all, that spending provides work for people and infrastructure that is needed by our communities.
On the other hand, congressional Republicans have no problem spending a trillion dollars in this decade on two futile wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars they are directly responsible for starting. That spending sends dollars abroad and unlike earmarks, has no positive effect for our nation—no new schools or hospitals or affordable housing, or the many other infrastructure needs of our nation. Read more
Firing General McChrystal was necessary and Obama is absolutely correct that the foundation of our democracy depends on civilian control over the military. However, firing a loose-lipped general does not begin to make a dent in the control our military has over our society. President Obama is as susceptible as every past president to the lure of the giant military machine that consumes almost two thirds of our government’s discretionary funding. Obama has done previous presidents better by proposing to increase the military budget by 3.4% over last year and declaring the Pentagon exempt from the freeze on spending that applies to every other area of government. In FY 2010 the military took $19.6 billion of NC taxpayer’s money. That’s an average $2,086 per taxpayer. Read more
The cost of war cannot be seen because war robbed us of a more beneficial future, a future that never happened. Generations ago some family friend or member was a causality and never had a chance to build a better world that would have benefited our ancestors and through them, our generation. That cost cannot be calculated; it was a better world that did not happen because of war.
In the most important calculation, the cost of war is infinite. For its tragedies are woven into our history becoming the foundation of our future. The cost too is woven-in and ongoing, like a war tax that never ends. Like our confederate forefathers, we still pay with the grudges we hold for the injustice of our loss. Like our World War II generation, we still pay for the military-industrial complex. The costs are the social programs to support and uplift that never happened. Like our Vietnam generation, we still pay for news media collusion. The costs are the truths that will never be known. But perhaps the greatest cost is our loss of peace. The war mentality asserts that we wage war now so that we can have peace later; but later never comes. The war mentality is woven deep in our culture and it prevents peace by calling peacemakers traitors, smearing the peace process as naïve, and arresting those who protest war. We pay for war with the peace that never comes. Read more
May 13, 2011
To the Editor:
Charles Krauthammer believes that finding and assassinating Osama Bin Laden would not have been possible without the Global War on Terror (N&O, 5/6). He doesn’t mention the cost, but it is clearly the most expensive manhunt in history.
To date American human cost is 5,885 killed and 32,051 seriously wounded, including the grief and damage to families of those soldiers. Tens of thousands Afghanistan and Iraq natives have been killed, many of them women and children. Three-million have been displaced from their homes.
There is the financial cost of $1.2 trillion. We have a national budget that was balanced prior to the wars and now is deeply in the red. Read more
The Times report on families bearing the brunt of deployment pain left out the story of all the other families getting a pass. As we enter the ten year anniversary of 9/11 and this nation’s two longest wars, we need to finally address sharing these enormous war burdens with all. Not “go shopping” but expose all young adults, female and male, to compulsory military service and for all others a war tax. In the latest election our wars were tragically a non-issue.
Bring back the draft for women and men with no college or divinity deferments. Deferments for those whose immediate family died in combat or suicide during combat or after discharge. A war tax adding $3 a gallon to gasoline with the tax described only by the words “war tax”. Double the tax in zip codes with the highest incomes and exempt the tax for those receiving food stamps (one American in six). Honor our soldiers by bring the wars home and then watch this new year be the last year for these longest of American wars.
To the Editor:
It is very true that earmark spending has come to symbolize runaway spending by the Federal Government (N&O, 11/26). But, why are Republicans in Congress concerned about spending millions of dollars on domestic civic projects? After all, that spending provides work for people and infrastructure that is needed by our communities. On the other hand, congressional Republicans have no problem spending a trillion dollars in this decade on two futile wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars they are directly responsible for starting. That spending sends dollars abroad and unlike earmarks, has no positive effect for our nation—no new schools or hospitals or affordable housing, or the many other infrastructure needs of our nation. Since 2001, North Carolina has contributed $30 billion to the Afghanistan/Iraq wars. The dividend from that $30 billion investment by our state has been much death and destruction, incredible suffering, no benefit for North Carolina, and arguably less security for our nation. When that $30 billion expenditure over 9 years is compared to the $3.5 billion budget shortfall predicted for our state in 2011 (N&O, 11/23), it becomes obvious how misplaced the concern over earmark spending really is.