April 4, 2003: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Iraq: Appropriations: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says $75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Special Reports: Camerooon RPCV and Political Columnist Margaret Krome: September 5, 2002: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Futurism: Agriculture: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says No Rosy Future in Sight : April 4, 2003: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Iraq: Appropriations: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says $75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq

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Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says $75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says  $75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says $75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq

$75 Billion Not Even Close to True Cost of War on Iraq
by Margaret Krome

My professional job has taken me to Web sites of many members of Congress this week. Many urge constituents to thank our troops for securing our peace, safety and freedom.

It may seem necessary to say those things to stay elected, but I don't share the sentiments. Our country isn't safer because our troops are deployed in Iraq, and I resent the imperative to support their mission once war began.

I deeply grieve for even the most ardent soldiers being made vulnerable. But I'm also appalled at their indoctrination into the strategy and culture for a war whose purported aims ring so false, whose probable aims are so cynical, and whose true aims are known only to President Bush and a few strategists. Notwithstanding the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime, this is not a war about our peace, safety and freedom.

Americans are determined to see U.S. troops as liberators. Military spokespeople say we're beginning to "win over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people."

I saw a photograph this week of an injured Iraqi woman on a bridge, approached by U.S. soldiers in full combat gear with guns drawn. Bush and his administration have always asserted that most Iraqis want liberation. Undoubtedly many do in Saddam's brutal regime, but the injured woman on the bridge simply looked terrified.

Once a war starts, the public only sees war. The good/evil, we/they, winning team/losing team strategy coverage dished up by the nation's media gives the average citizen every reason to think that dissent is unpatriotic. Listen to most talk radio, and you'll hear guffaws at people who dare to question the war's strategy and purpose: Fools. Ingrates. It's easy to protest; let those sign-carriers go deal with Saddam! Can't they even express appreciation for our soldiers? And so on.

Once war begins, dissent is expected to stop, and the free press so celebrated as the glory of our democracy, a freedom for which our soldiers are allegedly fighting, curls up at the feet of Donald Rumsfeld and goes to sleep.

If you control the message as tightly as this administration controls it, it isn't hard to create the illusion that there are only good guys and our opponents, that heroes are those shipped off to implement the only possible strategy for Iraq. Realistically, it's an illusion. Seventy-five billion dollars could buy tremendous support among Iraq's oppressed population. There are many ways to undermine regimes, as the United States has shown repeatedly in Central and South America. The public never knows of the countless opportunities to build the internal and external support for Saddam's ouster.

It's dangerous to be a superpower. By forcing war over the objections of world opinion, the United States became a favorite object of loathing. Hate groups forget times when Americans have helped citizens in other countries and see only our government pounding Iraq with blunt force. The anti-U.S. hatred that this war inspires around the globe will make lives of all Americans immeasurably more dangerous for decades to come.

In 1981, when President Reagan came into power, he charmed enough of the American public that Congress watched dumbly as he unraveled years of social, environmental and labor progress and civil liberties. After his term was over, people looked at the unprecedented debt into which he had placed our nation, and wondered where Congress had been. Again today, its members are AWOL, cowed by the imperative to support the team, however ill-conceived its strategy.

This war's only certain outcome is a tremendous number of dead Iraqi soldiers and mothers and grandfathers and children; tremendous expense; and a ballooning global hatred of the United States and determination to prove us vulnerable. Believing that, it's honorable to say so plainly.

Margaret Krome lives in Madison and is a regular columnist for The Capital Times.

Copyright 2003 The Capital Times

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Madison Capital Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Journalism; Speaking Out; Iraq; Appropriations



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