First, from our friend Lone Primate, who says to Bill O'Reilly: You first.
No excuses, Bill. You want the job done, volunteer. Put on the khaki and do your bit. Never mind "send" more troops... go fucking be more troops. Otherwise, to quote your favourite line, "SHUT... UP."Yeah, baby, yeah!
Next, Paul Rogat Loeb, who wrote the book Crabletta recommended, shares some thoughts on dying for one's country.
It's tempting to assume that all the sacrifices of our soldiers are worthwhile. But mere courage guarantees no inherent moral rightness: German and Japanese soldiers fought bravely in World War II. The September 11 hijackers were willing to surrender their lives to murder 3,000 innocent people. . .Lastly, I recently tried to write about sacrifice - who makes it and who doesn't. I had a hard time explaining what I was thinking. Chuck Collins, co-author, with Bill Gates, Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, fleshed it out for me.
Unfortunately, those who initiated the Iraq war now use each additional American death to justify the need to stay. If we challenge this war, we're told we're being disloyal to the troops, undermining their resolve and disdaining their sacrifices. We heard this as well during Vietnam, after which the media rewrote the history of the antiwar movement to imply, through images like protestors spitting on soldiers, that those working to bring the troops home were their enemies.
By time the first Gulf War began, these images were omnipresent. Even young anti-war activists told me, "We won't spit on the soldiers this time." Yet when sociologists Jerry Starr and Richard Flacks, who worked extensively with Vietnam vets, tried to track down the story, they couldn't find a single incident of a vet who said he was actually spat upon. And when syndicated columnist Bob Greene invited responses on the subject in a column that reached 200 papers, he found only a handful.
The power of such useful myths for those who send our sons and daughters to war may erode as military families and veterans play an increasingly visible role in the current antiwar movement, though veterans and families played a key part in the Vietnam-era peace movement as well. Every time I've marched against this war, I've ended up next to someone carrying a picture of a relative in uniform, a son or brother, husband, nephew, or niece, often someone facing the involuntary servitude of being unable to leave the military long after his or her original service term had expired. But unless we can convince our fellow citizens to separate the lives of the soldiers from the policies that place them in harm's way, they'll continue to be held hostage to the choices of leaders who are insulated from the human costs.
So let's remember the debt we owe to those who have died for freedom as well as those who risk and sacrifice in the name of protecting us all. But not all wartime deaths advance human dignity, and not all sacrifices are worthwhile.
Read his "Millionaires and War" published today on Common Dreams. Who ever heard of tax cuts during wartime? How dare these people talk about sacrifice!
Last summer, as the death toll for American troops was passing 1,000, the administration was fighting hard to give corporate donors an additional $140 billion in tax breaks.Collins concludes, "There is only one word for advocating such an inequality of sacrifice: shame!" Please read more here.
Now, the Senate is preparing to vote on repealing the estate tax, a tax that is only paid by multi-millionaires and billionaires, fewer that 1.5 percent of estates each year.
If there ever was a time to limit tax breaks for multi-millionaires, this should be it. The cost of our military involvements is growing, and we need to make additional investments to protect homeland security. Meanwhile, our budget surplus has disappeared, shifting from a 2001 estimate of $5.6 trillion in the black to $5.2 trillion in the red today.
Bush has asked for and gotten close to $200 billion in emergency war funds, and it is rumored he will ask for more. Where is this money to come from?
None of this has deterred Congress from its relentless march to repeal the estate tax this year. Repeal would cost almost $1 trillion over two decades. Giving such a tax break to wealthy heirs would only shift the burden of paying for security onto the rest of us.
It is unprecedented in U.S. history to pass tax cuts for the wealthy in a time of war.