Richard Brown: War is not the answer
Our current wars were the attempt of Bush, Cheney and the neocons to gain a further foothold in the Middle East for increased power and access to oil. Why extend the inevitable any further? Both wars are no-win wars – as all wars of this type will be from now on. Can’t our politicians learn from our Korean and Vietnam failures and the past unsuccessful exploits of the British and Russians in the area? We are viewed by the rest of the world as pre-emptive and immoral invaders. We must stop this cruel waste of our young people’s lives and futures, the continued depletion of our treasury, and the increased distancing of our country from the world community.
In Afghanistan, we could build schools and hospitals, improve living conditions, advance political accord and subsequently reduce the future creation of terrorists – for only a fraction of what we spend on our military occupation. Greg Mortenson and his nonprofit Central Asia Institute (www.ikat.org), using only donations from individuals and fund drives (no government funding), have been able to build more than 130 primary schools and provide 1,200 teachers, benefiting more than 58,000 students (including 40,000 girls) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as documented in his two best-selling books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools.” Greg can build 30 to 40 schools for what it costs to deploy and support one soldier in Afghanistan for a year. Just think what this could do to our image and influence with the rest of the world.
With the billions we are spending on these illegal and futile wars, we could make great strides in improving our failing education system, further stimulating our struggling economy, repairing our fractured infrastructure, researching and developing alternative energy sources, and bringing millions of less fortunate out of poverty. We should also greatly reduce our military expenditures and the influences of the military industrial complex and Department of Defense, and set up a fully funded and highly dedicated Department of Peace. War is not the answer!
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