Some of our National Guard troops recently returned from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. They belong here.
"War is a racket," said Marine Corps General Smedley Butler in an anthology of that name published after World War I. Having been there, he wrote on the subject with insight. Dwight Eisenhower, who ended the Korean War, said in a kind of farewell speech after eight years as president, "Beware of the military-Industrial complex."
But we are fed propaganda and lies. We are told we are involved in a noble effort, while all the time control of oil in Iraq and a new oil pipeline through Afghanistan are the genuine glistening motivators - unconscious perhaps. If not, why are there so many war profiteers?
I mourn the loss of American soldiers. I mourn equally the loss of people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We tend not to harp on the vast civilian casualties and displacements, by a kind of tacit media conspiracy of silence. We go out with our troops as reporters, and fail to say much about the "collateral damage" (what a euphemism!) as the corpses of the innocent are called.
We need less stress on military academies and something like a Peace Corps Academy to do things like have graduates build schools for boys and girls in Afghanistan, and otherwise transform the world into a place where it is easier for people to be good and equal.
Some would add that war is not even good business compared with spending on health and education, and in the long run we have to choose between guns and butter. There are limited resources on this planet. From whom and what will they do?