The U.S. should never declare war again unless all of us are willing to get involved.

I’ve been alarmed by predominately Republican candidates who suggest sending American troops back to Iraq “to bolster that country’s army,” to Afghanistan to reclaim lost ground, and maybe even Syria.

One saber-rattling member of the U.S. Congress––who is not a veteran––declared, “We need to carpet bomb ISIS out of existence over there.” He also plans to fight the Taliban, other government troops, radicals, whoever pops up.

That’s another thing. Before we go to any war, we probably need to identify the enemy.

These members and would-be members of congress don’t mention how they plan to resource or pay for these wars. Charging wars runs up too much debt, puts our economy in a tailspin. Last time we nearly didn’t recover.

I consider it bad for this nation to depend on volunteers to sacrifice their bodies, their lives––jobs, spouses, children, families and homes––to prop up armies in the Middle East.

Folks in that part of the world have been battling each other for more than four thousand years. I subscribe to George H Santayana’s thought that, “Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.”

Once our government committed us to the Iraq war, the number of troops who volunteered did not turn out to be enough to allow for rotations. U.S. soldiers finished tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, Korea, and other foreign lands to find we were short of replacements. Soldiers who were supposed to be home in a year got extended, some indefinitely. When they did get home, they were reactivated and redeployed repeatedly with too little time here to mend relationships and resolve mental issues.

Those who came home in body bags, of course, had no readjustment. Those who returned physically and mentally impaired had to wait in line for inadequate medical attention, another of those expenses of war our government overlooked.

After five years of training and millions of American taxpayer dollars produced unsatisfactory results in Iraq, President Barak Obama turned the responsibility for protecting their turf back to the locals and ordered our troops home. His decision met with noisy objections from some quarters, but not from me.

Left on their own, Iraqi troops abandoned weapons and established field positions, leaving American equipment and expertise to their enemies. We had squandered America lives and resources.

I don’t care much what happens in Iraq or Afghanistan with us out. Or in Syria, either. Unwilling to fight for their homeland, Syrians have left by the thousands, seeking refuge and peace elsewhere, away from their government’s wholesale killing of its own people.

John McCain and Lindsey Graham, on weekend talk shows recently, spoke of sending American troops again to train soldiers from other nations to fight for our way of life, insisting the effort will protect the U.S. from terrorists attacks. The truth is, some of us are determined to share democracy, whether other nations want it, or not.

My husband did a tour in Vietnam in 1966. Having lived that part of our history, I have never understood why Americans had to fight and die there. Of course I never was clear about “the Korean Police Action,” and why we still maintain troops in South Korea either.

During Vietnam, we had a national draft. Every able-bodied 18-year-old male registered to serve. The government gave student deferments to allow young people to continue college educations. After graduations, they still had a military obligation. That’s how the U.S. armed forces wound up with the best medical, dental, legal, engineering, mathematical talents in the country. All of our best and brightest matriculated through the military. Military hospitals were well staffed.

Allegedly, we got into those ancient conflicts to stop the spread of communism. I never saw news footage of people scrambling over walls and tearing their bodies through barbed-wire to “escape democracy.” I have seen people lay down their lives resisting communists, nazis, fascists, those trying to cram their ideals down the throats of others.

The point here is: If America declares war in the future, the government needs to provide a way to pay for it, and the effort needs to be all or nothing, meaning we reinstitute the draft, call on every eligible American to participate, and interrupt everyones’ lives, or we don’t declare.

In my opinion, a volunteer army established on credit is no way to run a war.



About sharonervin

I write novels for and about women. I work half-days in my husband and son's law office. A former newspaper reporter, I have a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. I have four grown children.
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  1. Bennett Nelson says:

    I agree. War without the commitment of sacrifice by all, is meddling in the affairs of others without the consent of “We The People.”

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