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.