[THS] Veterans For Peace: Obama's Re-branded Occupation Of Iraq
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ths at psalience.org
Thu Sep 2 15:03:03 CEST 2010
Veterans For Peace
Obama's Re-branded Occupation Of Iraq
By Mike Ferner
September 01, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- A veterans perspective makes it
clear that two major points must be made in response to President Obamas
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
The second point can best be made by drafting a section of the Presidents 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, Im 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, but large
though that figure may be, it is only the smaller portion of what we will spend in
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
Our experience thus far tells us to expect literally hundreds of thousands of cases of
PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries injuries that are often difficult to diagnose at
first and difficult to treat. These are, of course, in addition to the many thousands of
visibly wounded who, at great expense, must go through rehabilitation and a lifetime
of support in order to function to their fullest. Thousands more will require years,
perhaps decades, of long-term care because their injuries have left them so broken
they require round-the-clock attention.
But since we are initiating an era of candor, we go farther and by that I mean the
cost to families, communities and society as a whole. Volumes have literally been
written on this point, but let me leave you with a brief example you can easily expand
We have already heard of the abnormally high rate of suicides among returning
veterans. The real number is undoubtedly higher since some will always remain a
mystery. Weve heard also of a growing tide of domestic violence that leaves families
broken and terrorized.
Beyond the draining medical, psychological and emotional costs to the individuals
directly involved, imagine the cost to the communities where this occurs: whole
battalions of police, fire, EMT, courts, probation officers, social workers and sadly,
prison guards will be needed to deal with the true costs of war. It is uncomfortable
to admit, but this is indeed one area of the economy I can guarantee will grow
Then there is an exponentially greater cost borne by the people of Iraq and
Afghanistan greater in every way: emotionally, economically, in human suffering, in
destroyed opportunities, in shattered lives and minds, in hearts that will remain
forever broken. We can do precious little to repair much of that kind of damage.
But I can tell you this, my fellow Americans, we must at least pay the bill to rebuild
the roads, water and sewer plants, hospitals, schools and residences we have
It is not pleasant to describe such things and indeed, these costs will continue to
weigh heavily on our nation well into our grandchildrens generation. But we cannot
Mike Ferner, National President Veterans For Peace
Exposing the true costs of war and militarism since 1985.
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