Where is the anger?

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Why is there no anger or real concern about escalation in the news media?

In an Op Ed piece by Frank Rich in today’s New York Times entitled Obama’s Logic Is No Match for Afghanistan we read that President Obama’s Afghanistan escalation speech delivered from West Point last Tuesday night was generally speaking a yawner for most of the largely uninvolved population of the United States.

As Rich aptly points out, this war is being carried by what is left of the functional volunteer armed forces and their families, i.e., those that have not been physically, morally or mentally injured by it so far. That is an ever shrinking number of service men and women. It dawned on me that the author is right, why should America care?

Americans are not even going to be taxed, let alone drafted to fight this war. There is no reason for them to care. That is obvious to me now.  There is no passion for or against this war among the citizenry.  And young Americans are dying.  That is not right.

     

The war in Afghanistan will continue to be fought by the less than 1% of the American population that is doomed to enter the Service due to economic instability in their region. Did the Romans of old care about the personal dangers or life shattering possibilities that the gladiators faced in the arena? No, of course not. Is this any different?

Up until this point I had never considered that the American population is as generally disconnected to these wars overseas as it actually is.

The news media all over the television networks since Tuesday night have been quietly but irrevocably coalescing around the idea that we are going to escalate this war. There is not much passion in their reporting. There is not much anger nor is there much indignation about the dangers being posed to the troopers and marines. It seems to be the same old "wave the flag" pablum or at least quiet acceptance.

The reporting more or less takes the moral tone of "We are going to war again. Now lets move on to sports news and local weather." I have actually been stunned by the lack of any emotion in the reporting about the escalation or even reasonable discussion about its implications. I am beginning to suspect that this is not a war that Americans have time to follow. The Super Bowl is almost upon us after all.

Are the only ones that care about this debacle going to be us that have worn a uniform and the families of the soon-to-be combatants?

Just asking. It seems that way to me. We now have war as a spectator sport in the 21st Century in this country. That much is certain to me now.

In this lead-off story from the Times, How Obama Came to Plan for ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan , we get a look at how the escalation decision was made by the President. Do you think uninvolved America even cares? I am not sure that I believe that.

I thought you might want to ponder that last question for awhile today. Do Americans even care?

In today’s Washington Post we get a similar breakdown review of the escalation decision from different angles. That story, Obama pressed for faster surge , is even more eye opening relative to the issue of the uninvolved nature of the citizenry here. This is an administration insiders’ show, pure and simple. The people need not get involved. That is never good in a democracy.

In this article Cadets left with ‘a real clarity about our mission’, we learn what the West Point cadets thought about the speech.

In this article, Illinois prison likely to house detainees , we learn that the Guantanamo Bay detainees will almost certainly be moving to Illinois.

I feel disheartened because it is less than a week after we have announced that the U.S. is escalating a war that neighborhood kids are going to die in and frankly nobody outside of active duty or veterans’ circles really seems to give a flying &^$#. I really do not know what else to say.

This is just not right. 

Americans are much too cavalier about sending their young people to die and be injured for foggy reasons based on hidden agendas that revolve around American economic interests that benefit only the wealthy non-combatants. 

We are now deeply entrenched in an age where "national defense interests" have nothing whatsoever to do with legitimate national defense issues. And the nation is not deeply connected in any real way to its armed forces. This past week’s news coverage has proven that to me.

This is not good.

Get informed and stay informed. An informed veteran is a comfort to his friends and a danger to his enemies.

 

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)

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