War Is Hell
MoveOn.org will be releasing a report this morning to publicize the costs of the Iraq War to California’s 11th District. A group of voters from CA-11 will be meeting at Richard Pombo’s San Ramon office to deliver a copy of the report to Pombo and ask him to comment on it.
Since the Iraq war began, Congressman Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) has joined Republicans in Congress to spend more than $300 billion on President Bush’s failed [Iraq] policy… The cost of the war to taxpayers in the 11th Congressional District is more than $974 million and counting.$974 million from CA-11 alone. Think of the ways that money could have been spent in the district to improve the daily lives of its residents. Education. Healthcare. Transportation. Levee repair.
But that is only one, easily calculable, cost of the Iraq war. The human cost has weighed even more heavily on the people of Richard Pombo’s district than the loss of valuable financial resources. Think for a moment of the soldiers from the district who died in this war, the many more who have been severely wounded and maimed. Think of the two young men who, right now, are sitting in the brig at Camp Pendleton awaiting trial for war crimes.
[War’s] glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families ... It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.I don’t know much about these two young marines sitting alone at Camp Pendleton. I do know that they are accused of participating in the murder of an innocent civilian in Iraq. I know that they have proclaimed their innocence. I know that they have families and many good friends — Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, 23, in Manteca, and Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson, 22, in Tracy. I know that their families and friends see a boy who loved poetry and video games, a kid who ran track and taught himself to play the guitar, an all-around good guy who was a co-worker at the local movie theater, a son who fed the homeless in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. They refuse to believe that their sons, their best friends, could pull a man from his home, bind his hands and feet in duct tape, push him into a hole and shoot him multiple times at close range with an M-16.
—William Tecumseh Sherman
I don’t know if these young men are guilty or innocent. If they are innocent, then their country has betrayed them; and if they are guilty, their country has still betrayed them. Why? Because our leaders made a decision to enter this war of choice, to empower a bellicose and intransigent president, to continue on with no end in sight, knowing full well the terrible costs of war to all those who participate. Every student who ever sat through psych 101 knows about the Milgram experiment, knows that each of us is capable of deep, dark, horrible deeds. In the end it boils down to just one simple fact: war is hell. And yet our government continues to carelessly send our young people off to face its horrors. Before we ask our sons, our brothers, our friends, to sacrifice themselves at the altar of war, we have an abiding moral obligation to them to be certain that their suffering is absolutely and totally unavoidable. When we do anything less, we have betrayed them utterly and completely.
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war to our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.
—William Tecumseh Sherman