Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Way We Treat Our Troops

You can only hope that the very preliminary peace efforts in Afghanistan bear fruit before long. But for evidence that the United States is letting its claim to greatness, and even common decency, slip through its fingers, all you need to do is look at the way we treat our own troops.

The idea that the United States is at war and hardly any of its citizens are paying attention to the terrible burden being shouldered by its men and women in uniform is beyond appalling. 

We can get fired up about Lady Gaga and the Tea Party crackpots. We’re into fantasy football, the baseball playoffs and our obsessively narcissistic tweets. But American soldiers fighting and dying in a foreign land? That is such a yawn. 

I would bring back the draft in a heartbeat. Then you wouldn’t have these wars that last a lifetime. And you wouldn’t get mind-bending tragedies like the death of Sgt. First Class Lance Vogeler, a 29-year-old who was killed a few weeks ago while serving in the Army in his 12th combat tour. That’s right, his 12th — four in Iraq and eight in Afghanistan. 

Twelve tours may be unusual, but multiple tours — three, four, five — are absolutely normal. We don’t have enough volunteers to fight these endless wars. Americans are big on bumper stickers, and they like to go to sports events and demonstrate their patriotism by chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” But actually putting on a uniform and going into harm’s way? No thanks. 

Sergeant Vogeler was married and the father of two children, and his wife was expecting their third. 

1 comment:

  1. 12?
    Oh my, oh my.
    That is criminal.

    Even though I come from the Nam era. I do now agree that the draft should be reinstated.
    America must now come to terms that the Masters of War have found an endless enemy.
    We will be keeping a boot print in Iraq, and Afghanistan for quite some time to come.
    The real question is where is the next target?
    There are too many to name.
    The pamphlet "War is a Racket" by General Smedley D. Butler should be read by one and all.


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