That image is the iconic mark of the end of World War 2, when Americans took to the streets to celebrate. Yesterday President Obama announced that the rest of the U.S. troops serving in Iraq will be home by year’s end. He didn’t top gun onto an aircraft carrier and stand in front of a “mission accomplished” banner and make the announcement, but rather just informed the American people from the White House. The country responded pretty much with crickets.
After almost 9 years of the Iraq war, Americans were never once asked to sacrifice. This wasn’t a war waged by a nation, but rather by a President and his authority over the military.
During World War 2 taxes were high to help offset the costs of the war. Every family had risk of a loved one serving in the war when 10 million Americans were drafted into service. Every American had to give in one way or another.
During Iraq we saw taxes go down and our soldiers being forced to fight longer than they agreed to through stop loss. We dare not ask the American people to sacrifice while our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice.
Yesterday, before this announcement, I was in a discussion with a Republican friend on Facebook. He gave me one of the typical lines from Republicans that President Obama doesn’t support the troops. When pushed for facts to back up his claim, I never heard one. I would now like to show some ways President Bush didn’t support the troops:
- In August 2003, while the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were in full force, the Bush White House announced plans to cut combat pay for 157,000 serving troops. It wasn’t until public backlash that Bush scrapped the plan.
- Bush’s 2004 budget saw $1.5 billion in cuts to things like military housing.
- Again in 2004 the Republican controlled House passed the Bush budget seeking $28 billion in military benefit cuts over the next ten years. This was cuts to things like the VA. Almost every Democrat voted against the bill!
- In 2006, Bush did another $910 million in cuts to veterans services. This also coincides in the height of PTSD, when veterans really needed things like health care
- Bush refused to supply our troops with the needed body armor to protect them against things like IEDs. As matter of fact, struggling military families scraped money together to pay for this equipment on their own and Bush didn’t pay them back.
These are just a few examples of how Bush didn’t support our troops, but what does it have to do with the actual topic of this story? Well all of these items could have easily been paid for if the tax cuts for the top 1% of this country were rolled back. Instead we dare not ask Americans to sacrifice while our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifices.
We are a country of greed and it’s disgusting. We ask our brave soldiers to do things none of us would consider (and even big war hawks like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh will do anything to get out of), yet we can’t ask Americans to give a few extra dollars a year to help them out. We hear Republicans say that they would like to see an America of the 40’s and 50’s again, but the fact is that their own political beliefs keep us from that. Our country has an instilled notion of “take, take, take” and during the past 9 years our soldiers have been the biggest victims of it. We won’t be celebrating the end of the Iraq war in the streets because Americans didn’t have to change their lives because of it. If that’s what we call patriotic, then I want to be called unpatriotic.