Letter: What if it was your child being deployed?

By on September 2, 2010

If it was your son or daughter who was being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, what would be your opinion of these wars?

I recognize that I’m no foreign policy or military strategy expert, but I can see how bravely parents of deployed troops silently bear their pain and fear. I watch how intensely parents pray for the safety of their children and their comrades at church each Sunday—almost holding their breath until they return home. At the local grocery store, you see mothers staring at the cereal displays lost in their private thoughts. When I ask how their military son or daughter is doing, they answer with nervous pride, and we both avoid that deeper emotion that’s like adding one more drop of water to a glass full to the brim before it overflows.

These fellow citizens—mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, even sons and daughters—deserve sound and focused leadership of their families’ courage and sacrifice.

I understand the mission “to kill terrorists before they kill us” as a legitimate narrowly focused self-defensive military and political objective. I don’t understand nation-building when some other family gets their child killed or mangled to advance any State Department mission—not building schools, not educating foreign women, not paving their roads while ours buckle, not providing humanitarian relief in countries where they shoot our soldiers delivering aid, etc. Back when leaders led from the front and spilled their noble blood among the blood of their regular troops, you can imagine that the missions were brutally focused and the rules of engagement practical.

Armies destroy, should be used rarely, and violence is only legitimate in the cause of self-defense. Something or someone else can build other people’s nations.

Speaking of those at the top of our political, social and financial ranks, what has happened to the concept of “To those whom much is given, much is expected”? Where are the Bush’s, Obama’s, Oberweis’, Gates’, and Hastert’s? Is it proper that their fame, fortunes and power are protected by other families’ children’s lives? Ah … those invincible during peace but invisible during war.

Say what you will about Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Joe Wilson, the person who shouted “Liar” during the State of the Union Speech, but they have multiple sons serving and deployed. And, please do not cheapen their heroism by snickering, “Well, you know, that’s the only job they can get …”

War most certainly feeds some of the rich, while it buries many of the poor and the patriotic. Our most liberal president since FDR has submitted the largest defense spending budget in U.S. history at approximately $700 billion for this year alone. The entire U.S. national debt accumulated from 1791 until 1977 (186 years) was $699 billion. Lockheed Martin, Northup Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Boeing defense allocations have grown from a total of $61 billion in 2000 to $156 billion in 2007 (a 155 percent increase), and their collective profits have grown to $13.5 billion. Of course, we can defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but it’s a question of how much of our strength we are willing to commit and what is the most effective way to protect ourselves from twisted fanatics who see glory in killing innocent men, women and children.

Whom do cowardly bullies beat up on children’s playgrounds? It’s certainly not the strong kid in the class, but rather the troubled child who wipes his nose with the back of his sleeve. Are vicious terrorists who kill to make their political point any less rational in selecting their victims? It is an unfortunate reality of human nature that we can only achieve peace and security through military and financial strength. While some in America fatten up on steady diets of sliders, Big Macs, and MTV, enjoying security they have not paid for, there are others, “betters,” who harden and tighten themselves through incredible physical exertion and the core values of duty, honor and country.

But, just as the kid who plays unmolested on the school playground is strong, he neither looks for nor starts fights. He knows his strength is meant to protect himself, not to hurt others. Prudent American foreign military policy has been based on self-restraint and self-defense, all the way back to General George Washington’s caution to avoid “entangling alliances,” whether these involve traditionally aggressive nations or more modern, self-centered multinational financial corporations and cartels.

We are borrowing money by the billions from totalitarian Chinese Communists to fuel a tsunami of cash that intensifies corruption, fuels resentment and more hostility among the civilian population towards us, and props up an unreliable, antithetical central government in Afghanistan, while the Chinese capitalize on massive raw material developments (northeastern multi-billion dollar copper mines) with no security responsibilities. America fights, China profits.

There are 60 countries where al-Qaeda is operating cells. We will have to align our forward defense strategy to cover their offense, or it will be like the “pound-the-gopher head” game over at Luigi’s, but with life-and-death consequences.

Chris Lauzen
State Senator, 25th District


  1. secretweapon

    September 2, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    no one seems to mind buying chinese made products either….

  2. Petes Hot Dogs

    September 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    I think Mr. Lauzen needs a new Word of the Day Calendar. I wonder how many tickets Mr. Lauzen got for throwing a shout-out to Luigi’s. No more spider rings for you!

  3. RM

    September 4, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    War is heck and war is expensive. It’s also big business. What’s your point Chris? Want to give up your cushy job with nice benefits to go to the Middle East? We profit plenty from China and India and every other poor nation where we move our manufacturing to exploit their people, raw materials, trash their environment and avoid paying US taxes. It’s called corporate greed and apparently it makes the world go round