posted 2009-03-31 15:29:59
Tomgram: Ann Jones, Wars Abroad Continue at Home
Whether it's $900 billion, more than one trillion dollars, or even, in the long run, several trillion dollars, the spiraling costs of George Bush's wars -- one of which is now in the grim process of becoming "Obama's War" -- are indisputable. It's hardly less disputable that those wars to "protect" America from "global terror" have contributed significantly to the country's economic meltdown, that the harder we pursued (and continue to pursue) those wars abroad, the less safe the underpinnings of our world became. Thought of another way, that famous line of the cartoon character Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us," couldn't be more apt.
It's no less indisputable that the costs of these wars have been borne, above and beyond the norm, by those sent to fight them. Recently, Mark Benjamin and Michael de Yoanna of Salon.com wrote a powerful series about the startling rise in suicides in the U.S. Army, tracing, in part, what happens when soldiers are repeatedly sent back to war zones, often already suffering from war's invisible wounds.
Some costs of war are, however, far harder to notice, no less tote up, though no less real for that. Ann Jones is a TomDispatch regular, as well as the author of Kabul in Winter (a beautifully written reminder of just how long America's war in Afghanistan has been going on) and of Women Who Kill, a contemporary classic to be reissued this fall by the Feminist Press. (That invaluable press, by the way, issued in two volumes the vivid, on-the-spot writings of the Baghdad blogger Riverbend, who, among millions of Iraqi refugees fleeing abroad, has not been heard from since October 27, 2007.) The following essay on war and women has been adapted from Jones's new introduction to that book.
Who said "women and children first"? I don't know about sinking ships, but when it comes to sinking societies at least, that phrase, as Jones makes clear, counts for little. Tom
Copyright 2009 Ann Jones