I read with appreciation Sgt. Leo G. Librando's My Turn letter of Nov. 25, "Respect military, troops' efforts," and found it evocative, a clearly stated soldier's opinion with many valid points. We still have an all-volunteer military and that gesture of service to our country should not go without the gratitude and respect of everyone in our community, regardless of what we may think of our nation's foreign policy. Many of us have family members serving in the military, many of whom are now in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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We need to be constantly aware that our young men and women are fighting and dying in a war that we as a people allowed to happen, and roughly a third of us still believe in.
At the same time, we need to be the vigilant guardians, as civilians, of the welfare of these young soldiers by insisting that they receive the best tools and materials while in the field, and the best care that can be provided for themselves and their families when they are wounded, traumatized or killed.
We also need to realize that we're stuck with the war in Iraq, and we're probably also stuck with propping up our invented proxy government in Afghanistan. We've made too many mistakes to simply walk away, and the first and greatest of those was to allow a group of wealthy white men (and women) with financial ties to defense and energy industries, Democrat and Republican, to take our trust and our votes and place our young people in harm's way yet again, for a pack of lies. It is our duty as a nation to never let this happen again, to put a stop to provocative wars on our small planet, to stop the flagrant sales of weapons to practically anyone that can afford them, to stand down from another nuclear arms race that will very likely result in our destruction.
Defense contractors and the oil industry, corporations that are growing fat off our tax money, need to keep their dirty hands out of government. We've supported these greatest of all welfare mothers for too long, and in return they've given birth to an almost continual state of war since World War II. It's destroying our environment, has undermined our international credibility, has cost far too many lives, and has proved more destructive to our liberties and well being than the actions of any enemy.
What to do about Iraq? What to do about terrorism? We need to wake up, put away our big screen TVs for a while and do a little house cleaning: Everyone who voted for this war - Democrats and Republicans - needs to go. Those representatives who accept money from the oil industry or the military industrial complex need to be sent along to their well-paying jobs in those industries with the governmental door slammed on their behinds as they leave.
It would be the height of folly to allow the people that got us into this mess any more chances to get us out, because they won't. It's too profitable.
If it's third party candidates that'll do the job, so be it. If they get bought, out with them too, until we find some able people who are willing to represent the United States and not a group of multinational corporations who couldn't give a damn about American integrity or the soldier in the field.
And we'll find them too, if we remain firm in our resolve for a peaceful future.
To Librando and all of our country's soldiers, I say thank you for your service and your dedication. It is not you I take issue with but the cowards that hide behind you, that have placed you in harm's way and now use you as a bargaining chip, in both parties, for a game that's cost us our lives, our liberty, and will ultimately cost us our world. We owe it to you and to ourselves to stand up for the Constitution and make sure you come home to a country worth fighting for.
Jamison Paul is a Juneau resident.