Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

A more complete tally in the cost of the war

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About 300,000 U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, but about half receive no care, an independent study said on Thursday. Reuters 04/17/08

This isn’t a small number. This isn’t a laughable disorder. This isn’t a small issue.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but when we write the check (or swipe the Bank of China credit card) we must also weigh these costs. These are the most patriotic of their generation, losing mental health and more, for a war never justified. We have lost over 4,000 servicemen. Supporting our troops is bringing them home. Protecting America is having a strong defense at home. Recovering from disasters requires American forces. Something nearly synonymous with victory. Nearly. But we can neither focus on victory or defeat. Forward is the way, the past is past.

President Bush was asked today what he says to critics who see no end in sight in the war in Iraq – is it an open-ended war? And he effectively said it is – at least for the remaining 10 months of his presidency.

“So long as I’m the president, my measure of success is victory – and success,’’ the president said in the Rose Garden, standing alongside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, leader of a nation that has stood as the staunchest ally of the United States at war in Iraq and Afghanistan but has begun to draw down troops from Iraq and is moving its remaining forces “from combat to over-watch.’’ from Mark Silva at The Swamp

Focusing on victory and defeat, victim and aggressor or who gets the blame only serves to deflect our attention from real problems. When our forefathers set out the founding documents, they realized they couldn’t account for everything. But they also knew we needed to be well informed (free speech and press) and have direct involvement in our government. If we aren’t alert, a small group of people protecting their own and only their own best interests will hijack our nation. Everyone is subject to the rule of law. Absolutely everyone.


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