By Marie Loiseau.
In December 2005 I sat on my plush sectional, watching Bewitched. There came a ring on the home phone, because people had landlines back then, but I don’t even remember hearing it. I don’t remember hearing my mom answer it, either – or her yelling for, and passing the phone off to, my dad. I remember him crying. I remember him yelling. And I remember his fist, with an utterly nonviolent history, striking and passing through our kitchen wall. His lifelong best friend was dead, killed in an Afghanistan car-bombing. I stood staring at the hole in the wall. The war had literally hit home.
This could have been avoided. Forty year-old Brent Adams did not have to die and leave behind his wife and four year-old son. But that is what war does: it steals life. There have been more than 3,200 coalition deaths, in and around Afghanistan. Over 2,100 of those were people from the United States. Why is this murdering, this game of killing, the go-to option for international problem-solving? And why do United States leaders feel so eager to get involved?
This question is quite relevant, as President Barack Obama –the man many (myself included) considered the Peaceful Option when at the polls in 2008 and 2012- is back and forth regarding the current horrors in Syria. Should we stand back and let the use of chemical weapons go unpunished? Or do we stand up and fight for the Syrian victims, totally exhausting our military forces and digging ourselves deeper into an ever-growing deficit?
Of course I think the use of chemical weapons on civilians is unethical and horrifying. However, why is it the United States that feels it must step up and throw the punishing punch? We’ve already thrust our nose- quite violently- in foreign affairs too many times. We should learn from our current (yes, our other problems are still on-going… If you’ve forgotten…) issues and avoid this situation. How many people need to die before we learn to avoid the violence?
And have I mentioned that the United States is broke? We’re beyond broke, actually. The total for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is estimated to be at least $3.2-4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office has forecast that the annual deficit will be $670 billion when the budget year ends Sept. 30. This is way below last year’s $1.09 trillion, and would mark the first year that the gap between spending and revenue has been below $1 trillion since 2008. We have a spending problem, obviously.
But if we must spend so much, we should prioritize the problems existing in our own country. As I look around, I see so many issues that need fixing, right here at home. Our public education system is going down the toilet, higher education is climbing further from reach for too many citizens, and the Pennsylvania roads remain abundantly pot-holed (to name a few things). We should not embark on another war, another killing and spending spree. We need to smooth the wrinkles within our own country, which is far from perfect and cannot yet call itself a role model nation.