The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 31, 2013

Arming Syrian rebels may not be worth the cost

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

There is now a strong movement in congress to aid the Syrian opposition with some leading congressmen, including Senators McCain and Graham, wanting us to provide arms to be used in combat.

As a disabled Korean combat veteran, I have had years to think about our foreign wars. World War II was probably necessary but I am now not sure about Korea or any of the recent ones. In placing blame, people forget that many people got rich and companies made trillions in war contracts.

Every day, my friends that died and those with damaged bodies and/or damaged minds, from that war so long ago, are in my mind. Often I see the damage of our many foreign wars.

A few years ago, while visiting in Arkansas, I met a young man injured in the first Iraq War. There was not much I could do other than to suggest he contact his congressman and try to get more help from the Veterans Groups. Linda Bilmes (former Assistant Secretary of Commerce and now Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School) who has written extensively on long-term cost of wars, estimates the cost of providing Iraq and Afghanistan disability and services close to $1 trillion dollars. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) states, “many Americans don’t understand the full cost of war.”

The decision to aid and possibly arm the Syrian rebels could be costly. I hope our leaders think before involving American troops in this conflict.

Edward V. Harris

Hugo

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