Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bob Herbert--A voice of sanity in a world of lunacy

But no one in power is listening. Oh, they'll tell us, "You don't understand all the ramifications and subtle nuances of the problems we're dealing with..."  And on and on it goes, year after year, decade after decade, war after war, with more of the poor and middle class kids giving their lives and limbs and minds to the rich men's dreams, as the rich men acquire more and more wealth at the expense of the chess piece people they maneuver on the board of life.  Such a world...such a world...

The Lunatic's Manual
by Bob Herbert, NY Times

EXCERPT: As if there is not enough that has gone tragically wrong in this era of endless warfare, the military is facing an epidemic of suicides. In the year that ended Sept. 30, 2009, 160 active duty soldiers took their own lives — a record for the Army. The Marines set their own tragic record in 2009 with 52 suicides. And this past June, another record was set — 32 military suicides in just one month.

War is a meat grinder for service members and their families. It grinds people up without mercy, killing them and inflicting the worst kinds of wounds imaginable, physical and psychological. The Pentagon is trying to cope with the surge in suicides, but it is holding a bad hand: the desperate shortage of troops has forced military officials to lower the bar for enlistment, thus letting in people whose drug and alcohol abuse or other behavioral problems would previously have kept them out. And the multiple deployments (four, five and six tours in the war zones) have jacked up stress levels to the point where many just can’t take it.

...It’s time to bring the curtain down for good on these tragic, farcical wars. The fantasy of democracy blossoming at the point of a gun in Iraq and spreading blithely throughout the Middle East has been obliterated. And it’s hard to believe that anyone buys the notion that the U.S. can install a successful society in the medieval madness of Afghanistan.

For those who haven’t noticed, we have a nation that needs rebuilding here at home. Maybe we could muster some shared sacrifice on that front.