Editorial: War is serious and has consequences

Editorial Board

The week prior to Spring Break is almost finished and, just like every other year, the promise of a week without classes or responsibilities beckons with open arms. As we set our sights on leisure, however, we should not forget some matters are still very serious, namely, the increasing threat of a war against Iran.

For over a week, President Barack Obama has been under fire from Congressional Republicans and candidates for president such as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum because he prefers to keep diplomatic channels open in interactions with Iran and its most likely enemy, Israel. Since the Iranians are, according to intelligence speculations, approaching a time frame in which they could be able to develop a usable and deliverable nuclear weapon, that preference for diplomacy over a military strike seems, to Republicans, more untenable than ever.

War is a serious thing. It should not be taken lightly. It kills lives, costs money and ruins countries. The business of war is death, not life.

The War on Terror has cost the United States some $1.283 trillion and our military has suffered nearly 55,000 casualties over the past decade. We have had it lucky, though. Our countrymen have suffered those casualties discreetly; news reports may have invaded our homes every night for 10 years describing the young lives snuffed out prematurely, but compared to our overall population, they are small. Most of us have not had to adjust our lifestyles to adjust to veterans’ disabilities and witness their sufferings. Our taxes have not risen to pay for the war; instead we have hoisted the costs of maintaining ourselves onto future generations.

World War II cost the United States more than 1 million casualties and roughly $4.1 trillion over four years. The herculean effort to defeat the fascist governments of Germany, Italy and Japan included an enormous home effort to support government and military operations. Domestically, the number of people paying income taxes increased to nearly everyone, price and wage controls controlled the economy, rationing limited home consumption of materials needed for the war effort. Everyone’s life was impacted.

Contrast that with our world since 2001. Very few of us have given up anything related to the two wars in which we are involved. Setbacks to our increased standard of living and technological advancement come from falterings in the economy, not government rationing of goods the military needs to keep us all safe.

We may not remember it, but war is a terrible thing. Military force is not the only solution to problems of national security.