By: Daniel Nardini
A friend of mine walks through a rural town called Mount Carroll, Illinois, as a past time. Every time he strolls through the town he has visited for so many years, he is saddened by the empty elementary school, the decaying sidewalks in various sections of town, and some of the empty storefronts. He told me that 40 years ago, Mount Carroll was a site to behold—a thriving main street American town. Some new private businesses did indeed open shop in the downtown area, but this cannot make up for all of the business that had been lost over the decades. It cannot make up for the growing number of empty and dilapidated homes my friend sees. Whatever housing boom Mount Carroll had has long since ended, and some owners just hold on to their vacant properties for what they hope will be better times.
Better times may be a long ways away as America seems to go from one war situation to another. This country just barely got out of a disastrous war in Iraq in 2011, and this country is still in Afghanistan—now the longest war in America’s history. Like the Vietnam War, it may be a generation before the full effects of these two wars are known, and Lord knows how many physically and psychologically damaged war veterans this country will have to treat for years to come. Now U.S. President Barack Obama wants to get involved in yet another war, this time with Syria. For a couple of years, the Syrian government has been waging war against rebel factions intent on overthrowing current Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Atrocities have been committed on both sides, but as of late the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons (so it is alleged) against the rebels.
Now somehow the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress are “incensed” at this “atrocity,” and want to militarily intervene. For Obama it is a win-win situation for him—his popularity is falling in the post-election polls. But any intervention will require money…..money America does not seem to have for the most part. This is one of the reasons why the U.S. is getting out of Afghanistan—just no more money and no more willpower to stay in a war that seems to be lost. As bad as Syria’s civil war is, I believe that it should stay a civil war. The United States has serious, serious problems here at home, and the one thing America does not need is to get seriously involved in another war halfway around the world that has nothing to do with this nation’s security. A war weary American populace wants to see the government dealing with the moribund U.S. economy as enthusiastically as it seems to want to get involved in Syria. Only 15 percent of all Americans even remotely support any type of intervention against Syria, and the greatest danger to all this is that this country might get into a real conflict with Russia which is supporting al-Assad.
It seems that both parties are slipping into another war mood that this country can ill-afford. What I find sad is that after all these decades neither party has learned the consequences of their actions—all of the wars that America has fought have drained this country badly and have cost the American people dearly. As my friend once told me, “the most important lesson America has learned from history is that it has learned nothing from history.” Meanwhile, my friend laments Mount Carroll’s woes as he walks through town.