Politicians also have a duty to uphold in hold

This past Saturday, as many were gearing up for the three-day Memorial Day weekend, Vice President Pence gave his commencement speech to the newest and most diverse class of cadets to graduate from West Point. In his speech, he felt the need to repeat what must have been painfully obvious to them, and that was to “prepare for war”. Their entire time at West Point has been dedicated to being “Warriors in the Garden”, training on how to lead our sons and daughters into an entirely dreadful business. Our politicians, from the White House to Capitol Hill also have a duty to uphold in this business. And that is to not throw away the lives of those brave and talented men and women into pointless wars where there is no clear objective and where diplomacy can yield much better outcomes. This is not to say that we should ever let our guards down to real and present dangers. “War is Hell” as General William Tecumseh Sherman so eloquently put it during the Civil War. We are woefully underprepared for any cyberwar that can cripple critical systems throughout the country without a shot being fired. It is uncertain as to whether or not we are winning the trade wars with China, but way too many people don’t feel like their “winning”. Every generation or so, bureaucratic hawks in DC have run the same playbook of beating the drums of war and saber rattling. And for this generation, the current tune is the potential for war with Iran. A nuclear armed Iran is a real danger to everyone as it represents a threat to regional and global stability. And America should be prepared to defend itself and its allies on this front. But if this is just rhetoric used to decide who gets to build and control a natural gas pipeline to keep the lights on throughout Europe, than American politicians have a duty to ensure that not one drop of our soldiers’ blood is spilt over such a vain endeavor. A similar pretense for war was used to destroy Iraq, with the now discredited claim of it harboring weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). And thousands of American troops and untold numbers of Iraqi civilians paid a heavy price for our saber rattling and intelligence failures. The family members of our fallen servicemen and woman have also paid a price, and for whom this Memorial Day is a day of solemn reflection for their loss. War is hell. And it is the collective responsibility of our elected officials, the media that marches to this drumbeat, and all of us to remember that. If Pence and Company are going to advocate for us to go through hell, than it is also their responsibility to find a way to keep us out of it as best that they can or to bring us through it as swiftly as possible, and not to leave generation after generation to languish in it.

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