Over the last few weeks I've been watching "The War" which is a PBS special about World War II. It goes into decent detail about what was going on abroad and back in the US during the war. And I have to tell you, it looks like a COMPLETELY different world. I get that it was a few years ago and all, but seriously, when I do a little comparing to our world today, it's unrecognizable. I'm not gonna get too deep into current politics here, but it's mind-boggling how extensive the support for that war was and the SACRIFICE people were willing to make to win it. We've absolutely lost that.
I get that the cause was absolutely different than what we're fighting today - I am making an apples to oranges comparison a bit. But can you fathom the Congress in 1944 having hearings about cutting funding for troops, while those troops are dying on the other side of the world - even if the goal was to bring them home? What we're doing in Iraq (right or wrong) is costing $275 million a day - that's over $100 BILLION a year. OUCH! Have you heard a single politician talk about raising taxes or rationing anything to pay for it? I haven't. We'll just tack it on to the deficit we pass on to our kids. In WWII (which cost the US $341 BILLION in 1945 dollars) families made huge sacrifices in addition to sending their husbands and fathers away for years at a time - where over 300,000 of them were killed or injured. That part of our culture is almost (and I stress that word) completely gone. If whomever we were fighting saw our country and the men & women fighting for our country unite and willing to do whatever it would take to win - the bad guys wouldn't have a chance. Heck, they might not even show up.
Our ability to pull together as a nation and get behind something has been so obliterated by a bunch of factors, that I challenge you to name a cause that we would really get behind and be willing to broadly give up something for. For many people, a majority, what we're doing in Iraq isn't the right cause. Ok, I can get the thinking there - to a point. But name one that is, and that we would really get behind. I could write a list of problems I'd like to see us solve, but wow, I could list lost of reasons why we won't get it done. I know that many, many individuals are choosing to sacrifice significantly for our nation. I so admire that, and sure am not trying to discount it.
So, nothing prescriptive here, just observations. Hopefully we'll never have to go through something that requires that much sacrifice, but if (when) we do - I think we're soft.