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Uneven Sacrifice

Uneven Sacrifice

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Today, in our morning meeting, we had a few more recent college grads than usual (new intern, and a couple of young ex-interns, etc.). The group — besides making me feel ancient — agreed that dialogue, and protest, about the Iraq war was more absent on their college campuses because many college students felt "removed," from it. They didn't know anyone who had gone, and couldn't see the effects of the war in their daily lives — so the headlines were just that: headlines. It got us talking — in a war where civilians seem so far from the front lines (we're not even seeing our taxes increase) who is sacrificing? Obviously, it's overwhelmingly the military, but it's others as well. As attitudes about Muslims grow even more suspicious, and more and more civilian contractors take dangerous jobs in Baghdad, we decided to take a look at who is sacrificing in this war. Let us know who you think has been hardest hit — and if you're one of those who's given something to this war.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Where do you get off demanding sacrifice for an illegal war that was entered into based on lies and spin! That is totally outrageous. Why must anyone in the military die - why must anyone be drafted into this horrible disaster. Shame on you!!!

Sent by Joseph DiPaolo | 2:09 PM | 9-11-2007

My sacrifice consists of joining others on a downtown street corner once a week, holding a sign with the current tally of our soldiers killed in Iraq. Yesterday's figure was 3,762. I don't want to keep adding to that total. We can best support our troops by bringing them home as soon as is reasonable.

Sent by Sherry Caves | 2:16 PM | 9-11-2007

I think it is worth thinking about the lack of shared sacrifice surrounding the war in Iraq in terms of policy goals of this administration. As your guest said, when Americans are asked, we are often quite willing to share in sacrifices for the common good. Perhaps our administration did not want us to think too hard about sacrifice for this war effort - indeed, NOT to sacrifice (tax cuts, no draft) - because that would have caused us as a nation to more seriously question whether the war in Iraq is a just and necessary war. Our failure to sacrifice for this war is a failure of national leadership - we weren't asked because the administration didn't want us to ask too many hard questions.

Sent by Jeff Hartz | 2:25 PM | 9-11-2007

how about addressing the issue of people/companies making money on this
crazy war !!

Sent by vince from fort wayne indiana | 2:27 PM | 9-11-2007

It is unfair to compare our wars as an empire in Iraq or Vietnam to World War Two where we were actually under attack.

It is comparable to Rome's change from a Republic - where citizens served - to an empire, with a mercenary army.

While I have nothing against our current serviceperson, the fact is that they are mercenaries who voluntarily chose to go to war - not civilians who temporarily sacrifice their careers to serva a country under attack, as they were in WWII

It is just the price of empire and wars of convenience.

Sent by Patrick ONeill | 2:30 PM | 9-11-2007

My son was in Iraq two times. Both deployments were extended. I don't think that most folks think about the war all that much. I had some nice people who gave me money, things or sent packages to my son.

I haven't noticed a lot of the rah-rah war folks who have family who have been to Iraq. At times, if I mentioned my son was in Iraq instead of sympathy someone would say well he volunteered. Yes, but my son volunteered to defend his country not protect the oil supply or whatever reason we are there.

I think if Americans actually had to sacrifice for this war they would pay attention to why we are there.

I have been skeptical of the war from the beginning. But, for those who have no dog in the fight they can just go rah rah team US and leave it at that.

I feel like my son was used by this country. I support all these young people fighting but feel they should only be used in necessary wars.

Also, I don't think Bush and Cheney care about these kids. Just look at BUsh's smirk.

My son is out of the service now so it's less personal to me but it's still time to leave and use our treasures and money to better serve the people in this country and restore our reputation.

Sent by Kristin Whitaker | 2:30 PM | 9-11-2007

When it comes to sacrifice - it's worth noting that this war was quite literally sold to the country not on the back of a draft, but instead with a tax cut. The marketing was, from day one, shock and awe, oil revenues, and tax cuts. Couple that with "Mission Accomplished" and it's no wonder people aren't thinking about personal sacrifice.

Sent by Robert S. | 2:35 PM | 9-11-2007

To the Gulf War veteran and firfighter who is on a "list" and is detained at the border: Why not express or relate your feelings about Islam and Islamists who are the CAUSE for the problems that you and we all have to react to. Why lament the "taking" of liberties" by our government, when they were actually taken by those who mean to kill us? You have chosen a religion (and I imagine changed your name), and the enemy is some of those who are part of that religion.

Sent by Rob Waguespack | 2:35 PM | 9-11-2007

I sent an email similar to this effect, but here goes:

I have noticed that there is a disconnect between the American family, which may contribute to why there is not really a shared sacrifice. With parents having two jobs each and completely different schedules, they see less of each other, and therefore there is little to no time to become or form bonds to create a family. This, I believe, may be a contributing factor to why people in my generation (well both X and Y) have a social disconnect not only at the family level, but at the community and ultimately national level.

Our news media covers the war on occasion, but even there it is not emphasized much any longer, and this might also contribute to why there is little to no awareness that there is a war still.

Just wondered what people have to say about it.

Sent by Ryan L. - Madison WI | 2:38 PM | 9-11-2007

I think that gas rationing is an excellent way to make some sort of sacrafice for the war effort. After all, we know the reason we are in this war is because of oil. Our politicians have not sacraficed anything to bring this war to an end.

Sent by Donna Curry | 2:38 PM | 9-11-2007

I am listening to the show today and am extremely bothered. I wish during the show that you would talk about the other side of the issue. As a pacifist, I consider living through this war a sacrifice in itself. As a young person, who is engaged to be married, I worry about the effect this war will have on my marriage and I pray continuously that there will not be a draft.

Because of my religious beliefs I do not want to make any physical sacrifices for this war. It is both a scary time to be young and to be a pacifist.

Sent by Mandy Tirey | 2:41 PM | 9-11-2007

I'm one of those who has completely opposed the war from the start who feels that we actually need to stay in iraq and take responsibility for what we've unleashed. It seems that most Americans are only willing to sacrifice as long as it looks like we're winning, when in fact now is the time when we should be doubling our efforts--not necessarily militarily--to try to help iraq reach some sort of peaceful solution to the mess. I have never supported George Bush or his administration, so I'm a bit disturbed to be on this side of the argument, but I can see no way that we can hold our head up in the community of nations unless we are willing to sacrifice more of ourselves to this cause. I would even go so far as to say we should institute universal national service. Perhaps then, more Americans would become truly engaged with the process that brings us into these unnecessary wars.

Sent by marie | 2:42 PM | 9-11-2007

My name is Melanie Conger and 6 years ago our publishing company started a national, "Support Our Troops" Postcard Writing Campaign with school across the United States to support our brave men and women overseas. This program has received state and national recognition for our efforts and on an average month we help "deploy" over 12,000 postcards overseas. This program not only helps the students share their thoughts, concerns and support but also allow the returning troops to return to the schools that have supported them with postcards throughout their deployment. Allowing students the opportunity to meet face to face the brave soldiers that have been on the front lines and share his/her first eyewitness accounts has not only been a rewarding experience for the students but to the teachers as well. We love our troops and will continue to support them all until their safe return. We welcome all schools to participate in the postcard writing campain. You can read more at and Click Support our Troops!

Sent by Melanie Conger | 2:44 PM | 9-11-2007

I served in the military from the start of the invasion till sept 2004. I was discharged from the military with full honors.

I am thanked by people for my service constantly. I am even thanked by my political representatives. However, I feel abandoned by the military because I went into the military to pay for college. Yet, my GI bill is virtually taken away when I fill out my FAFSA (federal college aid) forms. What most young adults have is a block called an estimated family contribution. As a veteran I am considered an adult and do not have to worry about having this block deducted under normal circumstances. Yet, my GI bill is considered as a family contribution and is deducted from my grant money that I might be entitled to.

Additionally, I have felt abandoned by the populace at large because when I have needed help from my veteran disabilities to education I am given excuses or delays instead of prompt action. I continually hear and see that the nation as a whole is asked for sacrifice, yet I wonder who really is sacrificing for whom?

Sent by stephen Dolinko | 2:46 PM | 9-11-2007

My son is currently serving a second tour in Iraq. I feel the same way as many of the callers and bloggers, that Americans are removed from the war. I lived through the Vietnam War, my brother served in Vietnam, and my draft number was extremely high (considered a better position) or else I would have had to serve in Vietnam. Reflecting back on the times and attitudes regarding Vietnam, the only thing and I do many the only thing that motivated Americans and got their attention was the implementation of the draft. Almost no one takes an interest in anything that they don't have a stake in. I believe that our American interest in Iraq would be over if we had had a draft from the beginning of this conflict. I encourage every American and every American company get themselves up to date and involved in the continuing catalysts of the Iraq war. We do not all have to have the same opinions but, without being well informed and educated daily on this conflict, we the America people will never bring this war to any type of end. Spin it however you'd like but, there is a burning war economy here in the U.S.A and in Iraq, just like in Vietnam. It's going to be hard to put these burning war interests out.

Sent by buzz fackler | 2:48 PM | 9-11-2007

Let's support our warriors, if not the war, by adopting these men and women in need on their return. Towns/cities could adopt a service person and oversee their care, ask for donations from its residents to assit them, and monitor their needs and progress with updates posted on an "adoption" site maintained by the city. Servicemen/women wouldn't move to the city per se, but they would be supported and taken care of by that city. It would put a personal face on it for those of us here who can't get a picture of the sacrafice. No taxes...just personal donations...and don't tell me people would give, cause they would and they do when they know someone is in need. Small towns might adopt one or two, cities, more and divide the care up in sections of the city. Logistically it would be a no brainer to organize this. Good people want to help, but as commentators noted, they don't know where or who to help. Maybe this would put a name to it and people would know they made a difference.

Sent by Lynn | 2:49 PM | 9-11-2007

I remember WWII. I remember the air raid drills. I remember the victory garden the people on my block worked. I remember keeping chickens in the backyard that my brother and I had to feed before going to elementary school. I remember saving bacon grease (can't remember why!). I remember all the stamps my parents had to keep track of for gasoline and sugar, and the different lettered decals for automobile windshields to designate how much and how often one could buy gasoline. I remember the stars in neighbors' windows representing family members in the armed forces (blue if living, gold if they had been killed).

But remember that all that rationing was required, people served in the armed forces because they were drafted and we raised gardens because of the lack of access to produce (and my mother and grandmothers canned all that stuff all summer). And remember that this was a war that was declared by Congress, and the present one was not, nor was it supported by the nation. The fact that the war in Iraq was undertaken as it was - when that country was NOT a threat to us - has helped to distance us from it. None of our elected representatives have moved to make this something we should embrace or sacrifice for. I don't believe there is anyone who does not support those who are doing the fighting. I personally cringe at everyday's news of new deaths. I am appalled at the way these fine warriors are being treated by their government, both in Iraq and when they return. I feel for their families. The lives of many thousands will be forever changed.

So what would you have me do? I did not support the war from the first drumbeats; I still do not. I would not agree to additional taxes to support it. I can't think of any sacrifice I would make for it. I would, however, support whatever it would take to provide our armed forces with the decent medical care they will need for the rest of their lives, including mental health care - and I would argue this should be extended to their families.

Sent by Maleva Chamberlain | 2:50 PM | 9-11-2007

Rob Waguespak -- How are the Islamists taking our liberties? Have they been elected to our legislature? Are the writing and passing laws that restrict our actions, free speech, or right to habeus corpus? No, they have not. Islamists are not threatening our freedoms, and it is fearmongering to say so. Stop stoking the fear! It is more hurtful to our nation than confronting the war and bringing reasonable dissent.

Sent by A concerned CITIZEN | 2:50 PM | 9-11-2007

When the soldiers from the First Gulf War were coming home, a friend asked me if I was going to the airport to welcome them home. I said no. I had disagreed with the war. But when it came up before Congress should we give education benefits to these veterans, I wrote all my legislators and said they should support this legislation. Though I disagreed with the war, these veterans had given up their lives and risk death and injury because our President sent them to war. The country should support their sacrifice. The legislatoion failed. Where were all the prople who supported the war when this legislation came up?

Sent by Lois Bernbeck | 2:52 PM | 9-11-2007

I beleive in anything that has to do with the health, care & well being of our military personnel, not the fat bureaucracy where all the money goes instead. Having said that, not one issue regarding the Irag War, & all that it has spawned, will be a thorn, in our collective sides, until we find out Why, the Bush Regime, Knowingly & Willingly, used false & uncorroborated "intelligence" in order to invade Iraq.

Sent by Ken | 2:54 PM | 9-11-2007

Someone on the radio today said every man and woman should pay $2000 a year surtax for the war and that would be an equal sacrifice. What was his age, 12?
I am 67 and live on Social Security of $10,100 per year. How does that compare to the CEO of a corporation that has made millions, maybe even billions off the war effort. $5,000 hammers, you know. Let them pay a surtax on their extra income and let them give back their tax cut that came with this war. My sacrifice is to sit at my computer, which hurts me, and write 6 hours per day about the injustice of fighting this war with those who voluteered only to protect and serve in the USA, the state National Guards. I write about fighting a war on the cheap, and just now getting some better armoured vehicles for our troops after 5 years of death and maiming by IUDs. I have thought about writing to a serviceperson too but I don't know what to say to them, their lives are so unfair. Meanwhile, the children of politicians enjoy their college years and their lattes in peace. It's the only peace on earth right now and it's terribly unfair.

Sent by Sandy Fackler (like fact) | 2:56 PM | 9-11-2007

My comment comes because I firmly believe that the infamous meetings early on in the administration between Cheney and the energy czars sowed the seeds of the current Iraq quagmire.
Specifically, the oil interests said if we win in Iraq we control more oil, if we lose as we indeed have, the resultin price instability gives us gain.
So all of us who are not long on oil, are sacrificing to the tune of $1.50 per gallon; a tax of sorts benefiting the oil rich provided by Bush & Co.

Sent by Tullio Bilenchi | 2:57 PM | 9-11-2007

I remember 9/11 by asking myself "Why is the US so hated throughout the world?
Could it have anything to do with our cynical support for Saddam when that was convenient for us?
Could it have anything to do with the legitamately elected governments that our CIA has overthrown: Iran in 1952, Lumumba in early 60s, Chile in 70s and on and on?
Could it be that we have not treated the peoples of the world fairly?

Sent by Keith Miller | 2:58 PM | 9-11-2007

I don't think we can remember 9/11 unless we also remember the knee-jerk war WE started because of it. It was a criminal act and the entire world stood ready to help us find and punish the criminals. Instead we did the unspeakable, attack two nations with ethically similar populations, innocent people died, many times more than those innocent in the towers. Yet we did not attack the country from which the pilots came. And we don't remember the questions to ask our government. We don't even remember our mistakes, we think Iraqi problems are their own to solve. What kind of people have we become in 5 years?

Sent by Sandy Fackler (like fact) | 3:03 PM | 9-11-2007

No comparison is justified between this preemptive war selected by President Bush and his colleagues and World War II against the Nazis. We and indeed civilization itself was attacked in WW II. This war was sold by liars who told some big ones, which were bought by many of our people and the majority of Congress, in spite of abundant evidence readily available to all who would actually read and evaluate for themselves that exactly the disaster that we now have would occur, were the war to be chosen. Sadly, Osama bin Laden and his colleagues still are around and Iraq has been destroyed as a nation. Think of the untold suffering of the Iraqis, losing many to death, disease, and wounds, often without water and electricity, unsafe in their own neighborhoods. My sacrifice is the entirely unwilling contribution of our family's tax dollars to something which I oppose and indeed abhor.

Sent by John A. Paar | 3:07 PM | 9-11-2007

In response to Mr Reed: As a Nation we need to understand that there is no such thing as "absolute safety". In our effort to achieve this, we have forsaken our liberty but still cannot gain safety. I, for one, do not think that what Mr. Reed and his family go through at the Canadian border is even remotely worth giving up what defines us as a Nation. We have chosen to give up so much of our foundation from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in the hopes of attaining safety -- it's an illusion and the sacrifice will haunt us for years to come.

Sent by Megan Behnke | 3:14 PM | 9-11-2007

We're there. Shouldn't be, but we are. Now the nation's LEADERSHIP needs to continue to provide support for the governmental infra-structure which we dismantled. AND -- our LEADERSHIP now needs to level with our nation about the cost. In WW2, when we were at war, we had rationing of gasoline, tires, shoes, surgar, meat, and a national speed limit of 35 MPH. If we as a nation are at WAR, the WHOLE NATION SHOULD BE SUPPORTING WITH OUR OWN SACRIFICES. I was a Marine, and my son is now a 2nd Lt. in the Army. Support with rhetoric doesn't cut it with me. Let's see real support. not rhetoric.

Sent by Norman Porath | 3:15 PM | 9-11-2007

I was listening to the gentleman earlier speaking about giving our troops free education and other items. Like we did in WWII. I do not believe that anyone can compare this war to WWII, most of those veterans were drafted. The young women and gentleman that serve now joined voluntarily. I am a veteran of the US military and feel that any and all veterans should be medically taken care of. Most of the current service members joined for the great educational programs that they receive while they are enlisted or even after they are out of the service. When I got out of the military I received 14,400 for my GI Bill and I was not eligible for most educational programs unitl my 3rd year in service. Now they can use these benefits once they finish their bootcamps and other schools. They also receive almost 3 times the amount for their GI Bill. This usually no longer than 1 year.

I also am tired of people stating that their family members in the military joined to serve their country. Most young people that join the service join for free college money. Most of them come in for 4 years and then get out and go to school. When I hear people say that their children are defending the country they need to understand that they oath they swore was to the PResident and the Constitution. When you join the military service you become government property. They can charge you with willful destruction of govenrment property if you get a very bad sunburn and cannot perform your duties.

DO NOT take this wrong I support our troops and have alot of friends that are still in the military. I am just tired of people not getting involved when their children want to join the military. Most parents and families think of the pretty uniforms and all the pride. They do not take into consideration that their child could possibly be sent into harms way. I knew waht I was getting into when I joined. It is not that hard for people to find out what the military can be like. Also any person that wants to join the military can do so, but they also can back out if they feel it is not want they want to do. They just need to inform them they do not want to join before they take the oath.

Sent by brandon | 3:18 PM | 9-11-2007

I don't know how anybody could be shocked that a broader, more egalitarian shared sacrifice is not required in our current circumstance.

This is not to negate the positive communal and moral benefits to be found in shared sacrifice. But our national experiences in World War II were a product of necessity - we sacrificed because we had to. We had to becuase by and large, we weren't prepared for the conflict.

Since that conflict closed and new ones cropped up, we as a nation have set ourselves very seriously about the business of becoming more efficient at killing, projecting power, and waging war.

True - a number of our best and brightest go off to Wall Street. But my own collegiate experience tells me just as many go off to the "military industrial complex". You can make as much money climbing the corporate ladder at Raytheon or Haliburton as you can at Merrill Lynch.

And over the past sixty years - what do you think some of the problems are that our best and brightest have been trying to figure out?

Maybe figuring how to conduct war without requiring so much sacrifice from a fickle civilian population?

is a valid one..

even valid.

Sent by Rob | 4:32 PM | 9-11-2007

The whole country sacrifices in that the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted has hurt our economy and increased our debt. The whole country has sacrificed in that we are less safe today then we were before the invasion, we have less good will internationally than we did before the invasion. The whole country is diminished and more divisive than it was before the invasion. We have all sacrificed.

But the greatest sacrifice is that of the soldiers, both those who chose to go to Iraq, believing the lies of their leaders, and those who were in the military who did what they were ordered to do, regardless of what they thought about it. And the country as a whole loses when we lose one of these, as we are losing some of our best people.

Sent by George from Oregon | 4:32 PM | 9-11-2007

Well, President Bush DID call on us citizens shortly after the attacks of 9/11 with his stirring call: "Go shopping."

Doesn't really rank up there with:
"...we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...."

Nobody every accused Mr. Bush of being a rhetorician on the level of Winston Churchill, but it's obvious that the current administration has absolutely no desire to live up to their hype of the "War on Terrorism".

The Bush administration claims that this is a struggle on the level of World War II but at every turn do not choose to fight it as if it really were: citizens are not asked to sacrifice, expert military judgments are ignored or overruled for political considerations, veterans are treated disgracefully, and the importance of international allies is dismissed.

I cannot comprehend how this administration could have any support among the rank and file military after the decisions of the past four years.

Sent by brad evans | 4:41 PM | 9-11-2007

A comparison was made between WWII, and the war in Iraq. How ludicrous!!!
On September 11, 2001, radicals hijacked planes and used them as bombs. Most of those hijackers were Saudi Arabians. The head of this group of thugs is also a Saudi. The U.S. is still on great terms with Saudi Arabia, however.
Shortly after, this administration began an attack on a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on Sept. 11. The reasons for going to war with Iraq changed from time to time -"weapons of mass destruction", "gotta get Saddam", "Iraq was involved in 9/11", etc.
How naive are people?
I would suggest that Sept. 11 be a day when we don't even talk about Iraq. It's like talking apples and oranges.

Sent by Marge Peacock | 6:50 PM | 9-11-2007

To Rob Waguespak: Who says Muslims are NOT rejecting the ideology and actions of terrorists and radicals? Have you looked into what Muslim organizations have been saying and doing? Have you been to your local mosque and talked to people there? And what makes you think that lunatic radicals care about what us American Muslims think anyway? OBL and the like have already said that American Muslims are also their enemies and they consider us targets as much as they consider non-Muslim Americans to be targets? Why do you repeat this hackneyed line without any evidence or research on your part?!

Sent by JC | 7:01 PM | 9-11-2007

Blogger Jim Henley (at Unqualified Offerings) made a great point a while back - by not asking anything of the nation, the Bush administration ensures that the people have few ways to refuse, no adequate means of civil disobedience.

You can't be a draft resistor without a draft.

Sent by Jon Hendry | 8:40 PM | 9-11-2007

Americans have long forgotten what the word sacrifice means! The important issues to the average American are Paris Hilton, Britney Spears,American Idol and the like who are at the top of the news headlines whether it be CNN,FOX,Daily News etc..The war in Iraq in the end, whenever that may be, no one knows,where we are losing our soldiers is in back of the pack as far as the media is concerned. This is CNN/ FOX news> "Today Paris Hilton...,or Britney Spears...,and now the weather and traffic.When we return we'll check the stock market numbers. After a few short messages we'll talk to a few of the family members of the 400,000,000 troops that were killed early today in Iraq."

Sent by L.S. | 9:02 PM | 9-11-2007

I was furious in listening to the subject of sacrifice today. In looking at the broader picture, we are sacrificing everyday. The untold billions that are being spent on this immoral and unnecessary war could have helped solve domestic issues such as health care and education. The suggestion that everyone should be taxed an extra $2,000 in taxes every year made me livid. I have spent more than that in a year in doctors' bills and medicine for a chronic condition I have. I don't have an extra $2000 to donate to a war in which I don't believe. As for everyday sacrifices, I'm aware that we are giving up our civil liberties more and more and have watched the Constitution be decimated by our current administration,not to mention the ruin of our reputation around the world.
I can separate the war from the soldiers; nevertheless, even if some college students or other Americans don't see immediate sacrifice, I think they just aren't seeing the bigger picture. We ARE making sacrifices even if it's not in the same way the speakers suggested we do.

Sent by Cynthia Daley | 2:03 AM | 9-12-2007

How about a compromise? I'll support all the troops who were in the military before this atrocious war started... and those who joined up later because they needed a job or to get financial aid for college... but anyone who joined because they wanted to be part of this farce gets no respect, let alone support, from me. I do feel sorry for those poor souls however because they were duped like the rest of America. Let's face it, we were all hurting after September 11th. Our leaders took advantage of that pain and led us down the dark path of war. The terrorists were too difficult to find and that didn't look good on TV. We needed to find a better target...
"Hmm... what can we attack...?"
"I got it! How about Sadam!?"
"Yeah, but he didn't do anything."
"That doesn't matter, nobody likes him."
"And he's Middle Eastern, they all look the same anyway... it's perfect!"

Most Americans can't even find Iraq on a map. To compare this joke of a war to WWII is to disrespect all those who have ever fought to defend our country. WWII was a real war. The world needed us. We came to the aid of our allies. The world loved us. After WWII we became the greatest nation on Earth. We were heroes. But that's all over now. So sad.

Sent by Aaron in Japan | 9:44 AM | 9-12-2007

In Regards to your 9/11 show on "Shared Sacrifice..."

While listening to your segment on America's shared sacrifice (or lack thereof) in the Iraq War, I found myself very angry. Initially it was at your guest Mark Shields and his comment that the lack of shared sacrifice reflected poorly on Americans. I support our troops, yet I find the Iraq war and the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war highly dubious and extremely immoral. Then I was angry at myself for not being more involved in troop support after listening to the insightful Patrick Campbell. Finally I realized that the people I should really be angry with are the members of the Bush administration. In addition to leading our nation into an unnecessary war, they have turned our military and our troops into a polarizing political tool. When the concept of troop support is stolen and branded as a party-specific quality, our troops and millions of innocent Iraqis will suffer as supportive liberals like myself find themselves reticent to be more involved, lest they inadvertently assist an administration who has flippantly shown its complete disregard for American public opinion and a predilection for taking advantage of patriotic Americans' good nature.

Sent by Jeremy Johnson | 10:34 AM | 9-12-2007

I do not agree with our foreign policy so why should I sacrifice for the war? I sacrifice for issues that I care about, such as the environment. I make decisions and take actions every day that are environmentally friendly. I will choose what I make sacrifices for and will not be forced into it by paying higher taxes, universal national service, etc.

Sent by Kristine Ashpole | 3:25 PM | 9-12-2007

Why should those who fight in the war get tuition breaks, etc? I think it makes more sense to give tuition breaks to those who are studying alternatives to war to stop the senseless fighting.

Sent by Kandyce | 4:30 PM | 9-12-2007

All I have thought of to do is to reduce my comsumption of oil. I used to be one of those people that would drive like a bat out of hell in the passing lane, yelling at every one who got in my way. But shortly after we invaded Iray I began to drive 60 mph in the far right lane. My mpg went from about 23 to 30--a 30% reduction in my personal use of gasoline. My "sacrifice" really benefits me--I need to find more to do to benefit those who are bearing the true cost of this insane enterprise.

Sent by Chip Rivera | 6:36 PM | 9-12-2007

Several comments on the topic of shared sacrifice assume U.S. service in Iraq has some purpose other than soldiers trying to stay alive in a distant civil war's crossfire. Petraeus could not answer Senator Hagel's simple question, "what does the war have to do with defending America?" For the poor souls fighting in Iraq, it is hard to see what they are "sacrificing" for and exactly whom or what they are "serving." Certainly not for me; I never wanted to pick a fight there and invade a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

The sentimentality about "serving our country" seems ananchronistic, a Hollywood/World War II construct completely inappropriate, even dangerous, to apply to a farce like Bush's Iraq debacle. It's not even really a war, but a shooting gallery, so why go all misty about "service" and "honor?" It's sickening to hear so much misplaced sentiment about something as wrong as this aggressive, misbegotten elective invasion.

There is entirely too much unexamined reverence, even on TOTN, for the idea of military service. It feels like a con job or a kind of cultural blackmail; in public, we've got to get that catch in our voice and pay lip service to "service", "honor" and "sacrifice" or we're viewed as callous or even traitors. Military service ought to be viewed as merely a necessary evil in a democracy; a nasty job; and I hope it goes without saying that a thoughtful democracy would NEVER send its soldiers to an elective, nondefensive war such as the fight Bush picked in Iraq.

Sent by Lee Patton | 11:33 PM | 9-12-2007

I am really sorry I could not submit sooner - I wanted to pull over to call in! What have we been called upon to sacrifice, as a nation? We have Our Liberties! This administration has made the unilateral decision (and depending upon pending litigation, done so without legal, court authorization) to spy on us, our communications, and detain us - all without due process. That's a huge sacrifice. On the contrary, previous generations lived by the credo "Give me liberty or give me death." ...choosing to sacrifice life, and limb to protect those rights. On the contrary, I am personally willing to sacrifice a bit of security (i.e. accept living with some risk) to preserve my liberties.

Sent by Lee Colten | 7:41 PM | 9-13-2007