Time to dust off the 'Make love, not war' posters

March 15, 2010

It doesn't seem so long ago, when I still had hair, that I marched in the streets with many members of my generation to protest our nation's participation in the Vietnam War. We burned our draft cards, railed against LBJ and sang, "All we are saying is give peace a chance." We knew, when it was out time to lead, that war would be a thing of the past.

Today, we are involved in a permanent state of war. While winding down from an unfortunate excursion in Iraq, we are escalating our presence in Afghanistan, a place where no one has ever been able to bring much order, and we don't even seem to question it. We just accept it! We have become desensitized to the daily dose of death from the Middle East. Is this why we organized against the establishment so long ago?

Certainly, the prism through which we see things has changed. We have given up the soft edges of youth for the hard margins of our middle years but, even if we view our perpetual war from an economic standpoint, we should get out the "Make love, not war" posters and march again. It is projected that our involvement in the Middle East will cost between $7.2 and $7.6 trillion from 2010 through 2020. The cost of our military goes even beyond the Middle East. For some reason, we still maintain 60,000 troops in Germany, remnants of a war over 65 years ago! There are 30,000 troops in South Korea, thousands more in Japan and, incredibly, over 10,000 in Italy! Last week, we found out that they will be closing half the schools in Kansas City and we have 10,000 troops in Italy!

At what point did we lose our moral compass and accept our role as the world's warmaker? Maybe it's time to get back to the streets, take over the administration building , burn our AARP cards and make a difference. Maybe this time, we'll learn.

Carl Sallese, Baldwin

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