The Questionable Authority

Senator Daniel Inouye,

Senator Daniel Akaka,

Senator Hillary Clinton,

Senator Charles Schumer,

Representative Eliot Engel,

Representative Neil Abercrombie,

I am the husband of a currently deployed Army officer stationed in Hawaii, and with a home of record in New York. I’m writing today for two reasons: to thank you for your support of emergency war funding legislation that included a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq and to ask you to take an additional step and require that any additional funding for the current conflict be paid for immediately, through a tax increase.

When my wife was deployed in Afghanistan two years ago, I found the deployment easier to deal with than her current Iraq tour, even though she was probably in more physical danger in Afghanistan. At that time, I at least had the comfort of believing in the cause that she was fighting for. Right now, I’m not sure I even know just why she – or the rest of our troops – are there. I’m a bit of a cynic by nature, and did not expect my view of the cause to make a difference in how easy it would be to face the separation. To my surprise, I’ve discovered that it’s much easier to make sacrifices when you know why you are being asked to make them.

This brings me to one of the reasons that I am asking that you attach a tax increase to any further war spending – sacrifice. Last night, when my wife called from the FOB she’s stationed at, I mentioned that I had learned about the decision to extend Army tours through the media instead of through Army channels, but that it was nowhere near the top story of the night. A radio DJ getting fired for making insensitive and racist comments, the (criminal) innocence of college athletes, and the implications of the Anna Nicole paternity test were all apparently much more newsworthy events. My wife was surprised that this surprised me. Her response was, “Of course it isn’t. Why would most people care about this.”

She’s right. The vast majority of the American public has little at stake in this conflict. The sacrifices are being made by the military and by military families. As retired Major General John Batiste put it last year, “Most Americans only confront this issue by deciding what color of magnet [to put] on the back end of their SUV.” I think that if more Americans were being asked to make sacrifices to support this war effort, more Americans would pay closer attention to what has been (and is) going on.

Sacrifice isn’t the only reason to make sure that this war is funded through taxes now. We also have a responsibility to our descendants. Right now, our two children are already being asked to sacrifice a great deal for this war effort – their mother has been away during 18 of the last 33 months. It is unfair, unreasonable, and irresponsible to ask them, when they grow up, to also pay the financial costs of the war. The current policies, unfortunately, do just that.

Please consider taking these actions, both to support the troops who are deployed now and to support those who are being asked to pay for the war later.

In addition to emailing this letter to you, I am also posting it on my blog (http://scienceblogs.com/authority). I would encourage anyone who reads it there to send a similar letter to their Representatives and Congressmen.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Michael Dunford

Comments

  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    April 12, 2007

    It’s a powerful letter, Mr. Dunford. I appreciate your posting it for us to read. It is indeed true, and I think it would be good for more Americans to understand that our wars overseas have direct consequences for them.

  2. #2 a little night musing
    April 12, 2007

    Thanks for posting this. Your writing about your personal experience has an impact (on me at least) and I commend you for it.

    What’s more, you so often hit the heart of the problem, as here. (We’ve got to pay the piper, and you force us to look at that.)

    Your posts have made me think. Even when I already agreed with you.

  3. #3 oneproudaardvarck
    April 13, 2007

    Thank you for this. It is an inspiration. I will send a similar request to my representatives.

  4. #4 Melissa McEwan
    April 13, 2007

    Thank you for posting this. Mine is here.

  5. #5 Rob Miller
    April 13, 2007

    Wow. Excellent letter. I fully agree. I have linked to it from my blog and have sent it along with my comments to my senators and representative. Thank you for you and your wife’s sacrifice and your hard work in making a difference!

  6. #6 john laster
    April 14, 2007

    My brother has five grandsons that have never voted in their like–couldn’t name a one of their congressmen and/or Senators, If they had to report to the Draft Board
    tomorrow and follow up with a trip to Iraq, they might try to find out, just who in the Hell has the audicity to send
    me here. So I would add to this bringing back the Draft.
    A tax cut would be good, but money doesn’t mean a hell of A lot to this generation since they have never had to sweat for any of it. HIT THEM WHERE IT HURTS

  7. #7 Science Avenger
    April 14, 2007

    Powerful stuff Mike. I’ve linked to it on my blog as well. I’m not sure I’d go as far as reinstating the draft, because that removes the most poweful force against war the populace has: the refusal to fight it. Though I can’t help being amused at the thought of the ‘N Synch generation getting down and dirty sans cell phones.

    The fact we are even discussing the draft shows how out of control this situation has become. I hope your idea catches fire Mike.

  8. #8 John
    April 14, 2007

    Mike,

    I share your circumstances and your sentiments. As a fellow skeptic I also appreciate the difficulty of coping with the absence of your spouse due to a deployment which can seem unjustified, unpopular and thankless. The moral component of any conflict is the most cruicial to morale, both for those deployed and those who wait.

    It is ironic that the historic successes of our respective armed forces has divorced the vast majority of our populace from the necessary sacrifices made on their behalf.

    John

  9. #9 David Johnson
    April 18, 2007

    I hate to say this, because I know you’re being sincere, but your letter needs to be directed towards Prez Bush. Even the military has acknowledged troop funding has, in no way, been compromised up through, at least, July 2007.

    Bush’s intransigence, his absolute refusal to carry on an honest dialog with a co-equal branch of government, has exacerbated whatever problems have already existed.

    It is a matter of public record this administration, flush with funding since 2003, has NOT done all it could do to fund BASIC militry needs. Lack of armor, an incapability of dealing with the OBVIOUS results of soldiers being put in harm’s way (injuries & PTSD for starters), the replacement of military leaders on the ground in Iraq because they cannot or will not support his “point of view,” the list goes on and on and on.

    The greatest sacrifice politicians could possibly do is to admit their mistakes. This is NOT a war. It is an occupation. Occupations, without the overwhelming support of the indigenous population, fail. It’s just a fact of history.

    So what we can do, what I’m willing to sacrifice, is the time and energy it takes to help Bush and his administration to follow the will of the majority of Americans: get OUT. I dare say-as “The Stars & Stripes” does- the majority of soldiers will be appreciative.

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