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A little basic math, please

Editorial by FoP member Boyce Vardiman

We Americans need to pause now and then to add two to two and notice that the total is something more than one. “ONE” is the total regularly announced to us from Washington, from that “bully pulpit”and spoon fed us by most media, --a war against terror. September 11, 2001 we were attacked by terrorists, who “hate us for our freedoms” our leaders told us, so we were justified in invading Afghanistan (2), and to bring their chief spokesman, one Osama, and his followers to justice (+2). Never mind that Osama was our creation, a man of our choosing, our ally against Russia in Afghanistan; until he turned on us. At that point two plus two did appear to add up to more than “One”. Happily, most of our world neighbors were ready to join us in coordinated police action. But the “war on terrorism” quickly became the total for us, our single excuse, our “one” goal.

Through eighteen months of drum beating and flag waving it became clear that war had been on the minds of a cadre of our leaders in Washington since well before 9/11. In fact 9/11 was the beginning of a whole series of problems in simple addition for us. Quickly, there was a National Security Act, passed in the heat of anger, without even being read by many in congress. Since then thoughtful conservatives of the right and left warn of damage to our freedoms and civil rights. (+2) Our leaders repeated endlessly, without evidence, that Saddam was involved in 9/11. The demonization of Saddam Hussein continued in earnest. (+2) Yes, it really was difficult to further add to the man’s list of crimes. But let us not forget that he was our dictator. We supported and armed him in his war against the Ayatollahs in Iran. A good part of the weaponry that has IUD’d so many of our young soldiers and marines to death was made in America.

Next came the efforts out of Washington to add to the picture of Saddam’s wickedness the theory that he had WMD’s and was capable of quickly producing nuclear weaponry. (+2 more). As the Bush administration moved inexorably toward attacking Iraq, most of the world’s nations despaired of the thought. They urged, demonstrated, pleading with us to reconsider. (+2 more). Naysayers in congress, critics from the political left and right, demonstrators in towns, cities and universities across the land were labeled unpatriotic and non-supportive of our military. (+2 more)

It was finally revealed that our military and intelligence agencies has spied and listened without warrant, as required, on American citizens. (+2) All the while President Bush, who has yet to veto a bill out of congress, signing them all, even as he announced that he would not obey the laws he didn’t approve. (+2 more at least; this has to do with a president placing himself above the law).

The war in Iraq has now dragged on for more than three years, costing us over two thousand four hundred young Americans killed, close to twenty thousand maimed and wounded, and the killing of more than fifty thousand Iraqis. (+2 more at least) We get no real figures or budgeting from the Bush administration, but independent estimates of the cost of our Iraqi misadventure now stand at one trillion dollars. (+2 more) 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 add up to quite a score. But for the Bush administration the total is still “one”, the endless war on terror; with no thought of root causes, any culpability or change of direction on our part, consequences or costs. If there is to be some realistic math, it will be up to all of us as citizens.