by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - June 19, 2006) The nation is rightly concerned with the health and well being of its citizens. Accordingly, those whose products, services, or workplace environment may cause harm must undertake studies and issue reports to establish their safety to agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), etc. Violators of regulations may be penalized by the agency involved and can expect lawsuits by injured individuals.
Why are the health and well being overlooked when deciding to embark on a most dangerous activity, one that can and often inflicts more death and injury than all of the above combined? The activity? WAR! Wars are so attractive to presidents, their rhetoric notwithstanding, that their overriding focus is to find justifications for its necessity. The negative consequences and immense harm that will ensue are of little concern. An honest analysis of U.S. wars will show that they were unnecessary. They were entered into by deceiving the public with counterfeit rationales and did not accomplish the worthy objectives purported for them. They were boondoggles that poured riches into the hands of the government's elite masters while poor ignorant soldiers foolishly put their lives on the line. What for? Patriotism? A medal? Glory? Who knows?
Before war is contemplated a report should be prepared and published that sets forth the necessity for waging the war. It should estimate its costs, i.e., the high and low ranges of the number of troops required for the operation; the deaths and injuries of the fighting men; the casualties of the enemy, both fighting men and innocent civilians; the financial costs; and the length of time for completion of the operation. Most importantly it should set a deadline date, irrespective of the then-existing conditions, for when the war and occupation will be terminated and all military forces leave. If those studies and reports fail to reasonably predict the consequences of the war its proponents should be held responsible!
Why shouldn't the guys who come up with dubious pro-war decisions that kill and disable many misguided kids endure some pain? If war is imperative and requires the citizen to sacrifice then its advocates should as leaders be patriotic enough to die for their country.
Those misguided kids and their loved ones will at least be aware, from the advocates' estimates, what their chances for survival or injury are and for how long they may be endangered. Should an average of those estimates understate what actually transpires the advocates will suffer in similar proportions as the active troops. The war mongers will find it difficult to elude the consequences of their report. If they overstate their estimate to avoid being penalized the inflated figures will startle potential supporters thereby losing significant and likely essential backing for their war.
On the date midway between war's length estimates and again at the end of the war, an assessment will be made of the proponents' predictions against the actual results. If deaths and/or injuries exceed the mean in those categories then deaths and/or prison sentences shall be imposed on proportionate numbers of the war's proponents.
A hypothetical example using numbers from the current Iraq war may help to clarify this proposal. Congress passed the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002" by votes of 77-23 in the Senate and 296-133 in the House. Let's assume that prior to those votes the confident neo-cons in the White House predicted the length of war at 3 to 15 months; GI deaths at 500 to 3,500; GI injuries at 1,500 to 7,500; and a deadline of 5 years. The first assessment would be made after 9 months (the mean of 3 and 15); and another assessment, at the end of the war -- no later than the deadline date (5 years). Calculations for this example will use these current numbers: killed - 2,486; injured - 18,254; the highest number of troops in action in the area of operations - 160,000. Both the killed and injured exceed the mean values (2,000 and 4,500 respectively). So death and prison await some patriotic proponents. The relevant proportions shall be the deaths and injuries sustained divided by the highest number of troops in the area of operations. The killed proportion is 2486/160000 = 1.55 percent; injured, 18254/160000 = 11.41 percent. The pool of pro-war patriots consists of the outspoken proponents in the executive department -- the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, the neocons, etc. -- plus 77 senators and 296 representatives, about 485 patriots. Applying that number to the above proportions gives results (rounding up fractions to the next whole number) of 8 deaths, firing squads would seem most appropriate; and 55 prison terms. Those 63 randomly picked advocates will surely prove that they are no less patriotic than the boys that they send into battle.
I could be wrong but I think if such a plan were implemented future wars would not be entered as readily and more often than not will not be entered at all.
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