INSIGHTS: The insanity of Americ's wars

Time for change
INSIGHTS by Dave Patterson
of Ramona

The NC Times front page headline "Fatal echoes of war arena invades U.S." outlines the problem of veterans bringing violence home with them. This headline and a similar recent headline "Veteran suicides up" must give us pause to ask why? Why do we send our most valiant sons and daughters to wars that are not necessary, ask them to kill people that have not attacked us, and then expect them to live with it as model citizens? Why do we betray the trust between our government and our military, and in doing so risk our national security?

Since WWII our Presidents have demonstrated in Korea, Vietnam, Granada,Kuwait, Kosevo and Iraq that they can and will use the military at their whim to attack anyone they like and for reasons justified by lies and miss-information. In doing so, they have recklessly endangered our national
security by showing the world that we can indeed lose wars, and that Americans do not have the stomach for indiscriminate killing when they realize the war is unjust. This is our current position in Iraq, where we may have killed a million people, displaced another 2 million, and the world knows that it was completely unjustified. Our military strength has been sapped by occupation, and now the suicide rates and violent acts among Veterans skyrockets. Why do we do this?

From personal experience I know that our youth tromp off to war partly because they are committed to standing the line to protect us, partly due to our culture and partly for self-serving reasons such as education benefits. I also know that when one takes the oath to defend America in uniform, it is
understood that one will not be put in harm's way except when absolutely necessary. However, our politicians over and over again and without hesitation have deceived the public into going to wars that are not necessary, and every time they do more and more citizens lose faith in our leadership.

When our citizens lose faith, fewer well intentioned people join the military and our defenses are further degraded. I believe that President Bush and the Iraq war have tipped the balance between trust in government and self-sacrifice, and I now fear that the American identity as the promoter of freedom and justice has been lost forever in the din of shock and awe.

The good news is that there may be a way out of this mess, and that is for us to stop throwing rocks at each other, left/right, liberal/conservative, warrior/peacenik, and decide to make a serious change in our political infrastructure. To solve the problem we must now choose to actively support
Congressional and Presidential candidates that will seek peace before war. We as a nation must decide that war is not a football game to be cheered,but instead a deadly endeavor that will in the long run bring more violence,hatred, despair and death.

Dave Patterson is a Ramona resident, an Air Force Vietnam Veteran and a member of the San Diego Veterans for Peace.

See more like this at