NYT has a story up for tomorrow discussing the “patriotism lite” that is coming from this country as far as acknowledgement of the simple fact that we are at war. The article mentions Charles Moskos, military sociologist, who claims that this denial is bipartisan
“My terminology for it is ‘patriotism lite,’ and that’s what we’re experiencing now in both political parties. The political leaders are afraid to ask the public for any real sacrifice, which doesn’t speak too highly of the citizenry.”
While I agree that politicians on both sides are in denial about the war on Iraq and are not acting like a political body with citizens in harms way; I hope to defend the Dems on this one. I do believe the Republicans have control of the Presidency and both houses of congress. Therefore, they have almost complete control of what sacrifices we as a nation make in a time of war. Democrats have made repeated attempts to fund veteran programs and congressional repubs have used their clout to stop any measure proposed by Dems. Most recently, the Bush administration disclosed that it had missed the required amount of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $1 billion which
…angered Senate Republicans who have been voting down Democratic proposals to boost VA programs at significant political cost. Their votes have brought the wrath of the American Legion, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and other organizations down on the GOP.
The usual rebuttal by partisans is that the Bush admin has increased funding every year since 2000; just as Clinton did before them. They might show you a graph like this…
The problem I have with the above graph is there is an obvious trend in the amount of funding year to year, and it doesn’t have a large or distinct change after the transition year of 2000-2001 and especially after the war on Iraq began; I would have expected a significant change not a continuance of an exponential curve. I would hope that a war president would have realized that our current situation in Iraq, elsewhere, and any future wars are generating far more veterans and veterans in need of care from everything from combat injuries to psychological trauma; not to mention day to day needs for those able to escape Iraq unscathed.
The initial article, here, mentions “that America is not a nation at war, but a nation with only its military at war.” Again , this is true, day to day life continues. Unfortunately, nearly every day I write at my blog, read at Juan Cole and comment here at dKos about the life or death struggle experienced by our men and women daily in Iraq. But, for the first time in my life and in recent history we continue to cut taxes.
…neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions.
Cutting taxes in a time of war is unheard of and makes no sense to me; but I don’t claim to know how that works. A further claim of lack of sacrifice at home mentions there is no let up, rationing or large scale effort to gain independence from oil. But again there have been efforts to change this; in congress and on a local level, largely pursued by the progressive left. This past Friday, while stuck in traffic, I called out a couple in a Hummer with the usual yellow ribbon and a Bush-Cheney ’04 on the bumper. I asked them what type of mpg they got and that the Saudis were very grateful. I mentioned the madrassas his dollars fund worldwide, he looked at me like I had switched to a different language. They then began spitting Repub talking points. It was truly disgusting.
All this talk of wartime denial goes both ways but I want to imply that much of this falls squarely on the shoulders of the current leadership. Both parties should behave accordingly, but those in charge are in charge. It is hardly the Dems fault if the Repubs cater to the have more’s while sending the common citizen off to war. And when it comes to personal contributions, you can buy a sticker made in china and decrease the resale value of your automobile, or you can volunteer to bring you grandson/daughter home for a gruesome and unnecessary war.