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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

While the mainstream media were trying to make sure everyone stopped to check out the MySpace page of Elliot Spitzer's 22-year-old "escort," the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq has crept up on the American public almost as quickly as the now more than $3 price tag for a gallon of gasoline.

It's obvious that most are weary of hearing about the countless deaths, suicide bombings and seemingly innocuous "troop surges" and "enemy combatants." Even mom-turned-activist Cindy Sheehan, who many considered to be the face of the American anti-war movement, officially gave up her quest for answers late last year.

For the masses, it has been much easier to just change the channel and go back to the latest mind-numbing episode of "Dancing with the Stars."

And presidential candidates well versed in the game of politics have not done anything to help matters, as they successfully avoid discussing anything tangible about the future of the war and sink down to personal attacks.

However, if there were ever a time to start recognizing the consequences of the Iraq conflict, that time is now.

As thousands of our brothers and sisters - many even younger than us and barely out of their teens - prepare to do more battle in the desert, we can no longer stand by and send them to a quagmire that has no foreseeable end.

Though President Bush went as far as to say he envies those serving on the "romantic" front lines, we can't say we agree.

For those who did have the good fortune of returning home, their young lives are shattered fragments of what they once were, and they are forced to pick up the pieces. They may not have died in Iraq, but they did give a part of their lives, and for some, parts of their bodies.

That cost is too high.

And what about the other costs that are not immediately apparent?

The connection between Iraq and the War on Terror now is just as believable as the Easter Bunny, and the conflict has actually weakened our nation's defenses rather than bolster international stability.

Here's a clear indication of how desperate the thinly spread military is for more recruits: The U.S. Army is now testing an incentive program, dubbed "The Army Advantage Fund," that pays enlistees up to $40,000 toward a home or a startup business after their commitment.

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And for the first time in two decades, the Pentagon has decided to let up to 10 percent of new recruits be made up of those who have not graduated high school or earned a General Equivalency Diploma.

Apparently, they will stop at nothing to supply the military with willing participants to continue to fight this senseless war as American taxpayers foot the bill.

Furthermore, in what some experts are projecting to cost trillions of dollars, the war in Iraq is draining this nation's resources at an astounding rate while major domestic concerns, such as affordable health care, education and protecting the environment, are lingering on the back burner.

As the country heads into what most are saying will be a definite recession, we can no longer afford - both ethically and financially- to indulge politicians in their quest for conquering nations for oil.

It's time to support our troops by planning an exit strategy.

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