By Patricia L Johnson
First and last, as many of our soldiers have said many times over “I love this country and would die for it”. I have always loved this country because it’s more than beautiful, it’s breathtaking. There are scenes in this country that literally take your breath away they are so stunning.
How can you look at Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River or the Great Lakes without being filled with pride at these magnificent sites? Whether natural or man-made the United States is filled with one wonder after another.
I love the people. The people in the U.S. are first and foremost “neighbors”. It doesn’t make any difference if they’re African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, white and/or purple with orange polka-dots, if there is a disaster in their area they all pitch in to help. They forget the fact they haven’t spoken to their next door neighbor for the past 20 plus years because he ran over their daughter’s bike back in 1991, they’re right there helping their neighbor pick up pieces of his/her life after an earthquake, tornado, flood or any other type of natural or man-made disaster.
I love the fact that our country is first to help others in need. If there is any sort of disaster anywhere in the world, the United States is first to offer a helping hand and that’s the way I was brought up – to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
In that respect we are a ‘superpower’.
I love what our country was, but I’m saddened beyond belief at what our country has become, in such a short period of time, at the hands of so few.
Is it possible to speak with pride about a country that is literally falling apart around you? The infrastructure in the United States has been falling apart for years. The American Society for Civil Engineers, ASCE, evaluates the condition of our infrastructure on a regular basis and their report card from 2009 continues to give the US infrastructure a cumulative grade of D as follows: Aviation D, Bridges C, Dams D, Drinking Water D-, Energy D+, Hazardous Waste D-, Inland Waterways D, Levees D-, Public Parks and Recreation C-, Rail C-, Roads D-, Schools D, Solid Waste C+, Transit D, Wastewater D.
Just like your house or your car deteriorate without proper maintenance; our entire country is falling apart due to lack of maintenance/repair.
The ASCE estimates it will take a 5 year investment of $2.2 trillion dollars to upgrade our infrastructure.
September 11, 2001 marks the day the United States was attacked by terrorists using our own planes, American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93 and United Airlines Flight 175. These four flights caused the deaths of almost 3,000 in total at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at the site in Shanksville PA. (The number of deaths was originally reported at well over 3,000 but has been revised downward over the years).
Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001 and since that date 1,633 of our soldiers have died in OEF, with another 12,306 injured. On March 19, 2003 the U.S. began Operation Iraqi Freedom where 4,421 of our soldiers have died and another 31,922 have been injured. Operation New Dawn carries a death toll of 48, with another 208 wounded, for a grand total of 6,102 DEAD and 44,436 wounded or a grand total of 50,538 casualties, with no clear end in sight.
The number of casualties indicated is as of 10:00 am EDT on June 28, 2011.
When President Bush announced the attack on Afghanistan shortly after 1:00 pm EDT on October 7, 2001 he made the claim the “…the Taliban will pay a price”. Looks to me like the citizens of the United States are the ones that are paying a price.
After the attack on Afghanistan we started hearing rumblings about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (a claim that simply wasn’t supported by facts). As time went on it became clear the Bush administration intended to invade Iraq.
The Eisenhower Study Group from The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University recently released their report on the cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The report highlights the more than 225,000 killed in 10 years and more than $3.2 – $4 trillion spent and obligated on these wars. The report goes into detail on the breakdown of these figures and why they are so much higher than estimates reported.
As painful as it may be for me to say, I can honestly say that some of the pride I once felt for this country has now been replaced by shame.
I cannot be proud of a country that has caused more than 50,000 of our own men and women to be killed and/or maimed in a war that never should have happened.
© 2011 Patricia L Johnson