What if the recession, which has become the American voters’ number one concern, is just retribution for all of us who continue to go along with the unjust wars which are waged in our names at a retail cost of 10 billion dollars a month? The wars have slipped to fourth and sometimes fifth in voters’ concerns this election year, and yet…and yet, how many more innocent women and children and men in Iraq and Afghanistan will debit their deaths for three thousand innocent New Yorkers killed on September 11, 2001? Today, Americans can credit some 20 of Them to 1 of Us; and every day that the wars of vengeance go on, you and I condone the rising costs.
Those of us who have not paid for the war directly with our children, boots to the ground, are now going to pay and pay and pay for the unjustifiable war in Iraq which was “going to pay for itself” with Iraqi oil revenues. For those Americans who have paid with their children, or husbands, or wives, or mothers, or fathers, or brothers and sisters, we have already passed the one to one ratio: 4500 innocent American soldiers to 3000 innocent New Yorkers.
How many more Middle Easterners does it take to make up for one American life? If 20 to 1 isn’t comparable, then how many? Thirty, forty, fifty? Remember, the people of Iraq and even their insane leader had zip to do with the heinous events of 2001. Nor, for that matter, did the people of Afghanistan. But vengeance is blind and the American voter has to reckon with the fact that no other irrational reason can be put forth by the promoters of these wars than vengeance.
We voters are continually reminded that we are a Christian nation and/or a Judeo-Christian nation and while vengeance has been a defining trait of our mutual Godhead, he has also been amending himself over the last few thousand years in an attempt to gentle that image. But if Judeo-Christian soldiers are sent marching to war with no other standard than vengeance, doesn’t it stand to reason that continued re-vengeance will be visited back on us who go along with extracting 60 eyes for every two?
But back to our Number One priority, the pocketbook. Let’s say the cost of these wars is not just the deaths so far of almost 5000 children of some Americans (and the countless other thousands, upwards of 60,000 more who will pay with their arms or legs or brains and adult work lives), but a more widespread distribution. That a lot of us Americans are now going to be punished for the rest of our foreseeable future in loss of jobs, loss of income and homes, less affordable education, and even less food to the table. Our leaders’ lust for oil at any cost, and the voters who go along with it are accountable for the “nation building” we were told by Bush and Cheney was not part of their package.
The trillion dollars so far spent on not nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan has come out of your pocketbook instead of nation building in America. This recession, which is in its playpen now, has everything to do with vengeance and our allowing unjust wars to go on, and on, and on. We, the people, us average Americans must understand that those at the top of our national food chain (ever increasingly nighted by the warrior kings), will not want for groceries, gas, or gold. The vengeance wreaked on your household economy, your number one concern, will not affect their second, third, fourth and fifth and in one particular instance, ten houses.
The vengeance wreaked by our tacit and continuing compliance with these wars will go on, as the Republican candidate for your vote in 2008 has correctly stated, another hundred years, as it did for Britain. Why do we accept the warrior kings’ arrogant excuse that they are not responsible for cleaning up the mess they made before they go? The next president or the next president or Governor Palin can mess with it!
So whatever your or my irrational reason for not taking to the streets and demanding an end to the killing and the other awful costs of these wars BEFORE THEY GO—whether our excuse be vengeance or sloth—let’s just pause and give ourselves a little Aw Shucks at the pump next time, a regretful kick to the retreads, and drive on to the grocery with our compromised dollars. (And all that is qualified by the BIG IF…if they go gently into that good night.)
Carol Caldwell is a screenwriter and journalist who lived in L.A., lives in her hometown now, and whose new play about current First Ladies, My Secret Weapon, won best original play of the year, 2006, in its Nashville and North Carolina runs.