To the Editor,

In 2003, millions of Americans took to the streets to warn against the invasion of Iraq. I was one of them. We said that invading Iraq was not a wise course and that it would not end well for the US.

Time has proven us right, with more Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan than in the 9-11 attacks, trillions of dollars in debt to pay for these wars on the other side of the world, and a whole generation of people who have grown up blaming America for loss of their mothers, fathers, and homes. We’ve made a lot of enemies.

Death and debt, both economic and moral, build day by day. The burden of sorrow for the needless loss of loved ones and the ongoing suffering of our veterans is made even worse by the neglect of our needs at home, where hardworking people have to choose between rent, food, or medical care, where temporarily low oil prices have made us forget our energy problem, where desperation in our hollowed-out rural communities has led to an opioid epidemic, and where our life expectancy is actually decreasing for the first time in our history.

Shooting off missiles at somebody else is a perfect distraction from the real problems that face us here at home. It enriches defense contractors (with your tax dollars), and it conveniently turns attention away from the crimes of the would-be dictator in the White House.

Get everybody waving the flag as if they were at the Super Bowl, and we forget who we are. We forget what America was supposed to be all about. We cannot win this new war that seems all but inevitable, but we can win the peace, if we so choose.

John Wages

Palmetto

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