Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Cost of War and Apathy

A High Price for Looking the Other Way |

Retired U.S. Ambassador Charles Dunbar, speaking recently at Kent State University about the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, observed that "bombing civilians saves (our) soldiers' lives."

Just so: Bombing is cheaper than boots on the ground. Fairly small, safe crews can quickly dispatch numbers that it could take hundreds of ground troops days and casualties to kill.

Indeed, the Global War On Terror (GWOT) itself has been cheaper than diplomacy and treating our neighbors fairly and humanely. It's cheaper in terms of money, not least because the rich, smart and powerful can profit by financing and selling high-tech ordnance and equipment (not only to the United States and friends, but to enemies) The rich and powerful make money by brokering oil, services and mercenaries, and by selling consumer goods with infotainment of war, bombings mayhem, and torture.

The costs of the GWOT and most wars are borne by the poor, ignorant and powerless -- by poor people living in "enemy" territory who pay with their lives, by non-rich Americans, whose children serve in the Armed Forces and who pay with inadequate medical care, underfunded education, crumbling infrastructure and deregulation and privatization of basic community services.

The costs of this war are borne heavily by poor people and ecosystems in South America, Africa and Asia. Residents of our Gulf Coast have suffered "collateral damage" from storms of a planet overheating dangerously for the profit of international corporations.

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