“We continue to fight simply because we are there”. That “we” is a miniscule one percent of the population that’s paying the human cost of this country’s check for war – the democratic equivalent of a dineand-dash. The body count for US troops in Afghanistan is 2,414, plus more than 20,000 injured. Those figures rise into the hundreds of thousands for Afghan soldiers and civilians. Then there’s the financial cost: Over $1-trillion, according to TheBalance.com. Even so, Congress has repeatedly cut taxes, especially for the rich, since the wars began. Our fiscal policy is one of kicking the can down the road to future generations, who are paying enough already for fossil-fuelled climate change. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. The massive carbon footprint generated by armed forces in combat zones, a primary institutional driver of global warming, ensures that these
endless wars will end up costing everyone. Our troops and families of veterans pay the price every day. Before our loved ones returned from their first tours, we were told “Combat is a one-way door: Once you walk through it, you can never go back”. “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end”, said General John W. Nicholson recently, as he was preparing to leave the country for the last time. Nicholson had spent a total of 31 months – four tours – in Afghanistan as the commander in charge of a shape-shifting mission. Support the troops, America: Bring them home now. Enough folded flags. CT
Stacy Bannerman is the author of Homefront 911 (2015). She’s leading the Heart2Heart Tour – www.heart2hearttour.org) with Military Families Speak Out, which is calling for an end to America’s longest war. This article is distributed by www.OtherWords.org.
Where do progressives go in regressive times? How to cope with the feeling that the end is probably nigher than we think? Go into Time Lord mode, writes Rick Salutin
was thinking, during this month’s fine weather, about the idea of progress, since so much of the past two years has seemed like a regression to
the economics of the 1920s and politics of the 1930s. A neighbour passing the porch said she’d been reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United ColdType | October 2018 | www.coldtype.net
States. Zinn says it’s always one step forward, two back. So does progress happen? For native peoples, it’s been pretty retrograde during the 500 years since Columbus. But as someone else said, they tend to have a less linear notion of time than we newcomers. If you relax the grid, you can go backward and forward simultaneously, or weave around. As Peter Capaldi said in his final episode as Doctor Who, just before regenerating into Jodi Whittaker (which counts as progress in the conventional sense): “Silly old universe. The more I save it the more it needs saving”. The Doctor (in Doctor Who) is of course a non-linear Time Lord.
or most of us the linear model is deeply embedded. We watch history as we watch sports: our team moves ahead or falls back. Drew Brees set an NFL record for passing and the crowd was deeply moved. They weren’t just there to see their team win, they wanted to be part of a historical leap forward. Today’s regressive feels so depressive partly due to the proud ignorance that accompanies it. Economist Karl Polanyi wrote The Great Transformation in 1944 on how policy makers had finally learned that capitalism must be subdued through public action for everyone’s sake. But Ontario Premier Doug Ford says, “We’ve taken Kathleen Wynne’s hand out of your pocket and we’re going to take Justin Trudeau’s” out,
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