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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

A look at the costs of war and how we got here

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today, as Donald Rumsfeld is relieved from duty, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the costs of war.

In America, the divide between the rich and the poor is growing as the middle-class is disappearing quickly. There is the "War on Drugs", "War on Terrorism", but when will we start fighting the "War Against Poverty"?

The US is spending over three billion dollars a week on the war with Iraq. That it a hard number to grasp: $3,000,000,000 a week! In a year that is $156,000,000,000. The price paid by our soldiers is priceless.

As a veteran, I know first hand that our Veteran's Administration is not prepared to handle it's current workload. If you are sick, it sometimes takes over a month to be seen by a doctor. Most VA employees are rude and not helpful. I have been working with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and VA administrators to fix the problems. If they can't handle the current number of veterans - how will it ever be able to take care of our soldiers who come back from this "war on terror"?

The progress of our medical technology means that deaths are actually rare. Instead of dying on the battlefied, we have a thousands of maimed and disabled soldiers. Even the soldiers who come home unscathed are going to need years of support for their mental health.

I think it is appropriate to also remember how we got here:

It all started in the 1940's when citizens of Iran discovered that all of the press and propaganda in Iran was coming from the US Embassy. The US backed the Shah of Iran and our CIA carried out bombings to frame the Shah's opponents. The US government even asked Walt Disney to help create propaganda cartoons.

When the Iran / Irag war started, the US gave Iraq $200,000,000 to purchase our weapons to be used against Iran. That's right - we gave them the money and the weapons. They created the Savak (which is similar to our CIA) which was used to track both friends and foes. Our CIA trained them on Nazi torture techniques.

In 1965, the Shah flees to Iraq. The Ayatollah Khomeini asked Saddam Hussein to deport the Shah and Saddam complies. In 1978, over 9 million Iranian students protest and the Shah leaves the country again.

Most people remember the US hostages that were taken from the US Embassy during the Carter administration. The hostages were released once Reagan was sworn into office. Reagan later used Iran to get hostages released in Lebanon. After providing them with weapons, they didn't do anything to help. In November 1986, the deal leaks to the press and Reagan addressed the nation. You may remember Oliver North and the Iran-Contra files.

There is an important photograph taken during that period that would change your perspective on the current war: The photograph shows Donald Rumsfeld meeting with and shaking hands with Saddam Hussien.

To view this photograph, you can go to Google, click on IMAGES and search for "Rumsfeld Saddam."

There is an old saying that is true: If you don't remember the past, you are doomed to repeat it.

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