Monday, April 14, 2008

A Mom and a Citizen on the Cost of War

By chance, the post below from a thoughtful citizen and mum, Aileen Mory, intersected with something I heard on the Jim Lehrer News Hour last week about how the US military is being forced to make more and more exemptions to enlist people with significant criminal backgrounds in order to make its recruiting goals. The scenario of an overstretched and increasingly convict US military trying to cope in low-intensity, unconventional, and unending wars is a grim one, especially because our national interest as Canadians and as Westerners depends on a strong and healthy America. It's significant, I think, that while we are asking NATO for help in Afghanistan, the reinforcements coming to serve beside our soldiers in the Kandahar and Panjway areas are likely to be Americans. We need to care about the health of our military partners.

Aileen Mory writes:

I was against the war from the start, although my opposition never translated into a protest march in Washington or a letter to my congressman. It remained no more than a quietly held belief. Today, there's talk of leaving Iraq, but I don't know what to think. I want our soldiers to come home, but can we really abandon the Iraqi people to what is essentially a civil war of our own making?

I don't have a solution, but I think I may have figured out what's missing from my perspective on democracy: pain — universal, democratic pain. In terms of the Iraq war, this country's burden is being shouldered by a select few. Some families and communities have been devastated by the war. Others, like mine, have been far too insulated. We can't truly share the responsibility for our democracy until we all share in its suffering.

And so, in the name of shared pain, I support the reinstitution of the draft.

Read the whole article.


Adelaide said...

This is fascinating. I know that Iraq is on a lot of people's minds, but its separated from that sense of urgency that she's calling for. For better or worse, we care about our own self-interest more. That's why the number of lost US soldiers in cited so much more than the number of Iraqi citizens. Reinstating the draft sounds terrifying, but perhaps she's right, perhaps the draft would make us aware of our own personal accountability in the war.

styler said...

Personal accountability died in the late '80s, about 15 years after its twin collective accountability.

Some historian in the future will make a career writing books on what Americans sold their souls for and what they really got for the deal. He or she will probably be Brazilian.

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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