Sunday, April 05, 2009

War is cruelty

War is cruelty

By Walter Haan,

General William T. Sherman, famous for Sherman's March through the old south during the American Civil War, defined war as he saw it: "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it." That's a great quote by someone who knew what he was talking about.

And now that our economy is in free fall, with everyone suffering including the families of our servicemen and women across the country, it is heartening to see First Lady Michele Obama offering comfort to those families through her visits to military bases. No one can blame our armed forces' soldiers, sailors and airmen for what is happening to our economy. But they, along with their families, are suffering from it just as well. Imagine dodging bullets in Afghanistan after reading a letter from your wife back home that she is using food stamps to help feed their children.

And it will get no better for those soldiers, sailors and airmen when they get back to the USA and out of the military. The unemployment rate for veterans is 30% higher than for those who never served.

Even the rich are experiencing economic difficulty, and they are the ones that probably have contributed to our economic mess through their greedy actions. Pat Buttram, Gene Autry's sidekick in films and on Gene's television show in the fifities, talked about the depression of the thirties on one of the last Arthur Godfrey radio shows in 1972:

"I was in poverty during the depression before it became popular and the rich folks became part of it. Back then the high priced spread was lard."

War is cruelty. Not having a draft to include the sons and daughters of all classes in our military is cruelty too. It means that it is only our poor who serve in the military and wind up in Afghanistan or Iraq or both. Not only unfair, it is cruel to a targeted segment of our population.
--Copyright 2009 by Walter Haan,


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