Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
On Memorial Day, many of us took time to remember those who died in our nation’s service. I believe that was absolutely appropriate, but I also believe that it is possible to hate war at the same time that we honor our warriors. Questioning the wisdom of our enormous expenditure of lives and money in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya should not be viewed as unpatriotic. On the contrary, we should be questioning why we are there, what we are accomplishing, and what criteria must be met before we exit.
We have been at this for 10 years. That involvement has resulted in more than 6,000 dead members of our military, 33,000 wounded, uncounted numbers of civilian casualties, and expenditure of more than $1 trillion. We currently have 100,000 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan alone and there are countless contractors supporting operations there and elsewhere.
Afghan president Karzai is demanding that coalition forces end night raids, stop unilateral operations, and stay off roads and out of Afghan villages. In addition, the rules of engagement dramatically limit the use of air power, firing at “occupied” houses, and attacking Taliban forces in Pakistan. Putting our forces into harm’s way under such restrictions strikes me as bordering on insanity.
Are our troops really fighting for our freedom? Would we truly be less free is they moved to safe bases within striking distance of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc.? If not, why don’t we relocate? Is it because politicians are afraid that an anti-war stance will allow opponents to paint them as soft on terrorism? Is it because unions, contractors, and corporations declare that bringing large numbers of troops home and reducing the purchase of weapon systems will increase unemployment and deal a death blow to our economy? Is it because Hawks (who have never defined “victory”) claim that we will admit “defeat” and appear to be weak if we withdraw? Are elections, profits, employment statistics, economic stability, and pride being bought at the cost of an obscene hemorrhage of lives and monetary resources? If so, where is our outrage?
I’m in disbelief that our triumvirate of Republican commissioners is financing a $250,000 air show – from a county economic development fund, no less – and would not finance the completion of a health study regarding oil-n-gas’ possible health effects on the men, women, children, air, water, flora and fauna of Garfield County. Our protection, not our entertainment, would seem to be their job.
It calls to mind ancient Rome, without the Coliseum. Just keep us peasants entertained with some chariot races and we won’t notice the air or water or noise or where our taxes are going.
I would like a commissioner to defend these decisions outside of their imperial chambers, say in the paper.
I would also like a defense from someone who voted for these three guys.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.