Remember reading in school about the sacrifices and changes in American lifestyle during World War II? There was rationing of gas, war bond drives, victory gardens, scarcity of rubber and scrap drives.
Hollywood stars helped in canteens, kids all over the country mobilized to secure items needed for war material, and folks simply went without when their rationing booklets ran out of purchase tickets.
For the first time in massive way, women soon took over the jobs vacated by the guys. Now, more often than not, both mom and dad are out there working to pay the bills. Many work by choice - no longer content in being a "housewife". But the cultural change happened during WWII. We needed people to pump the gas, and build the planes.
There was a sense of shared duty and responsibility. Of sacrifice.
Fast forward to 2001. In the aftermath of the 9/11 America went to war. First in Iraq, the Afghanistan, and most recently it has expanded to Syria and Yemen. 16 years at war. With no real end in sight. The Middle East quagmire has used and spit out three presidents and untold national treasure, in gold and blood.
War bonds? Nah. Rationing? Uh uh. Sacrifice? Nope. For most of us it is that thing operating in a peripheral sense that we hear about occasionally but don't have a good sense of what is going on. We have become uber-patriotic out of a kind of peer pressure and without getting our hands dirty. We have little other ways to conduct ourselves as citizens except by channeling our duty into flag-waving and veteran adulation.
Here are my plans.
A. Announce effective immediately all current wars will be paid as we go along. No more deficit spending - taxes will be raised to finance the fighting. Once everyone knows how much more they are going to be spending and they let their representatives have an earful, a more focused approach will be forthcoming.
B. A national lottery is enacted according to city/county/township size in order to pay for war financing. All cities of a particular size would be responsible for specific munitions. Chicago, New York and Los Angeles would pay for the MOAB type bombs we have. Emerald City, Muscatine, and Monmouth size towns would pay for a set of munitions commensurate with their size. The Pentagon would draw names from the computer and send a bill to those respective towns chosen to pay for whatever was used that week. Oh, snap. Dallas you owe 16 million for another MOAB. Aledo, oh,too bad. You owe $15,000 for some bullets and transporation costs. My prediction is the wars would end within a couple months.
Would those plans ever be implemented. Never is a million. Would they work, who knows. All I know is there are cemetery plots all over the country with the bodies of soldiers who died in these wars over the last 16 years. Are we winning? Can we leave? Are we safer? Is the sacrifice warranted? Does anyone care?