When I was just a boy my father took me to the Arlington National Cemetery. I remember him calling the place a “Garden of Stone”. I was far too young to understand the significance of the place. Looking back as a man I now realize the sacrifice of every soldier buried there. As a son of an army officer and a resident of a military town (Virginia Beach Va) I have the utmost respect for all of the men and women serving in the armed forces. That is why I am gravely concerned about the state of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Posted below is a short interview with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. She is one of my personal heroes and has worked tirelessly to shed light on the plight of America’s fighting men and women.
Blue Scholar Blog: You have been quoted as saying “I don’t think much has changed since the Bush administration.” Do you feel that the Obama administration is continuing the failed foreign policy of the Bush administration?
Cindy Sheehan: Absolutely–there is usually continuity between administrations, but Obama kept some of Bush’s appointees (such as Robert Gates as SecDef) and he has expanded the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan and started new hostilities in Yemen and Libya. The economy keeps going downhill while the rich get richer.
Blue Scholar Blog: The new Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki has been seen as a dictator in his own right. Are we any better off with him than we were when Saddam was in power?
Cindy Sheehan: Al-Maliki has been in power for years, but I think the U.S. is definitely better off with him in power than Saddam, but I don’t think the people of Iraq are. Al-Maliki allows the U.S. to pull his strings to the detriment of his own people who are still suffering from lack of hospitals, medical supplies, schools, electricity, clean water, etc., while foreign oil companies are profiting.
Blue Scholar Blog: Since the Iraq invasion it has been estimated that the cost of the conflict is about $700 billion. In addition to the financial cost about 5,000 of our soldiers have lost their lives. Was this war worth the aforementioned sacrifices?
Cindy Sheehan: Actually, the cost is about 3 trillion and over one million Iraqis/Afghans/Pakistani, etc have been murdered. Of course nothing is worth such devastation!
Blue Scholar Blog: The Obama administration has been stepping up operations in Afghanistan. In January, about 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division moved into the provinces of Logar and Wardak. In February it was announced that another 17,000 troops would be deployed. In light of this do you see a cohesive exit strategy in place?
Cindy Sheehan: Well, Gates was just there today and he doesn’t seem to think it’s ending soon and, for once, I agree with him. The U.S. obviously doesn’t want to leave these countries.
Blue Scholar Blog: Pakistan is the only Islamic nation that has a nuclear weapons program. Pakistan is also the second largest Islamic nation in terms of population. With the United States spread so thin on so many fronts what do you think our next move should be?
Cindy Sheehan: U.S. troops out of everywhere. Bring our personnel and tax dollars back home to strengthen our economy and create jobs in green technology, not killing technology.
To learn more about Cindy Sheehan and her work please check out the following link: http://www.cindysheehanssoapbox.com/
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