To all veterans, we at The Lincoln County News thank you for your service. We would not have been able to vote Tuesday if it were not for your courage and sacrifice. We might not have liked our choices, but we had a choice, and that’s thanks to you.
In fact, all we enjoy each day is thanks to veterans. We can go to work and provide for our families – thanks to veterans. We can relax and watch the Patriots thrash their latest victim each week – thanks to veterans. We live in peace and security, without fear, thanks to veterans.
We often take these things for granted, but in many places around the world, people don’t have democracy, or jobs, or homes, or security. The privileges we enjoy come with a price, and the people who pay the price are veterans. When we take these privileges for granted – when we fail to participate in our democracy, for example – we take their sacrifices for granted.
Politics and veterans
We hear a lot in campaign years about politicians’ efforts on behalf of veterans.
The lawmakers who work on behalf of veterans deserve credit for doing so, although we sometimes wonder how veterans feel about politicians using this work to advance their own causes – or how much politicans actually do for veterans when there are still so many problems with how we care for our veterans.
Veterans deserve our support and the support of our elected representatives. But we think the best way to care for our veterans is to ensure we only send service members into harm’s way when we have an inarguable reason for doing so, a clear goal, and a plan in place to achieve that goal.
During the presidential debates, we heard very little talk about the cost of war to service members and their families, and plenty of tough talk about who would do more to fight the Islamic State and other terrorist groups or rogue nations.
We need to exercise extreme caution when we take any kind of military action, especially when we place our troops in danger.
We believe in a strong military and we believe we have a moral duty to deploy our military sometimes – to prevent the mass slaughter of civilians, for example.
But we also know intervention comes with a heavy price in terms of lives, and in terms of the physical and mental health of war’s survivors.
Our president-elect and all our politicians would do well to think more about this cost.
When it comes to campaign time, “I didn’t send servicemen and women into danger without a good reason” seems like as effective a pro-veteran argument as any.