End­less war makes ar­mistice cel­e­bra­tion ring hol­low

Albuquerque Journal - - OP-ED -

WHEN I was a child in school read­ing about the Hun­dred Years’ War, the idea was be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion even though the teacher ex­plained that it was not a non­stop event. Years later, as an adult, the idea was not only com­pre­hen­si­ble but also, I re­al­ized, a hor­rid re­al­ity.

On Sun­day, Nov. 11, there will be ob­ser­va­tions of the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I. Al­though Amer­i­can par­tic­i­pa­tion in that war was only one hel­la­cious year, this na­tion had al­ready sur­passed its first hun­dred years of war and has now com­pleted its sec­ond hun­dred years, pro­vid­ing a steady sup­ply of vet­er­ans to be re­mem­bered in years to come on Nov. 11.

In Lin­coln’s fa­mous ad­dress, he re­ferred to “a new na­tion con­ceived in Lib­erty.” He could have said con­ceived in war, be­gin­ning in 1775. By the time Lin­coln spoke, there had al­ready been 87 years of wars. When the ar­mistice was signed, the United States com­pleted its 143rd year of war and en­tered into its sec­ond cen­tury of war in­clud­ing in­ter­mis­sions to rearm, pro­duce new gen­er­a­tions of sol­diers, and change sides and venues.

There’ll be no ar­mistice for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to com­mem­o­rate. The cur­rent wars — how many are there? — scat­tered over two con­ti­nents, some of which are con­ducted in al­most se­cret lo­ca­tions that rarely make the news, are un­winnable and will pos­si­bly or prob­a­bly bring the down­fall of the na­tion eco­nom­i­cally if not po­lit­i­cally. A per­ma­nent state of war is not healthy; sur­ren­der is a dirty word.

One day’s price for main­tain­ing th­ese mul­ti­ple wars could help pay for the ever-grow­ing list of ur­gent con­cerns for the lives of the Amer­i­can peo­ple: poverty, ed­u­ca­tion, med­i­cal care, in­fra­struc­ture and on and on. The na­tional debt years ago reached the in­com­pre­hen­si­ble point of im­pos­si­bil­ity ever to pay and in­creases ev­ery sec­ond. We can’t count on the Euro­pean Union or China to bail us out. The gov­ern­ment al­ready owes China stag­ger­ing bil­lions in re­pay­ment of loans.

There’s lit­tle use in ap­peal­ing to Congress and cer­tainly not to the pres­i­dent.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers of war ma­teriel main­tain ex­pen­sive lob­by­ists, re­mind­ing your rep­re­sen­ta­tives that those in­dus­tries pro­vide jobs for thou­sands of peo­ple.

This Nov. 11, en­joy the pa­rades, re­spect the flag and honor the vet­er­ans. Pray that na­tional san­ity will soon come again to this war-numb na­tion. RAY A. REEDER Al­bu­querque

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