Two Years in to the Obama Administration: Midterm Madness.

Here in the US we are running up to the midterm elections, also a mark of the second year following President Obama's election. In Delaware we have the sorry business of Christine O'Donnell but elsewhere it is just as bad if not worse. 

Almost no one seems to get it: We need elected officials who are willing to do the mind numbing job of reading sewer reports and statistical tables, economic reports and proposals for new technologies and then vote with some wisdom. If they can't read or don't have time that they hire good people who do and will instruct them.

And we ought to expect from our elected leaders that they help this country break its war habit, a habit that poisons our economy, community life and takes lives endlessly. 

This election cycle is marked by attack ads mostly would have it that President Obama and his administration are to blame for every national woe. This is both a falsehood and really really stupid. The blame for the woes of the nation can be spread widely and over several administrations. Everyone gets their share of responsibility for the crass and sad state of things. 

So this video is a welcome bit of comic relief. The Model of a Modern US President.

So much for a bit of fun. 

One thing that goes more or less unmentioned these days is the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. While there are continued costs of human life related to both, deaths to US personnel in Iraq are greatly reduced and in Afghanistan they increase but not unexpectedly. No one however is talking about all that in the midterm elections. And no one is talking about the cost. Here is the human cost to coalition forces:

The total coalition deaths in Afghanistan stands at 2168.

The human cost of the war in Iraq, in terms of coalition forces is much greater. It stands at 4744 dead.

The war has taken 5772 US personnel, not counting contract workers.  The total coalition casualties stands at 6912.  The US wounded in both wars now stands at almost 40,000.

There is almost nothing said in any election materials about any of this. The wars have become normalized policing activities. The human costs, counting only US and coalition casualties is high. The estimates added to that of Iraqi and Afghanistan deaths due to the wars are huge. Apparently no one running for office cares to raise the issues of war and its costs.

The financial costs of the wars is a major contributor to our financial troubles. Estimates of the cost of the two wars now stand at roughly 1.096 billion dollars. (That's a Trillion + 96 billion and change.)

President Obama along with all of us, and with all those people running for office, who blither on about how it is all "Obama's fault," are avoiding the reality that we are in a state of permanent war, with no real desire to break the habit. Meanwhile whatever good has happened in this Administration gets dumped on in total abandonment of any real critical analysis. It is a sorry time for the Republic. Everyone is averting their gaze from the wars and playing up to the worse in us. 

Get out and vote. Vote your heart out. But do not let your eyes be averted. When the voting is over, demand that our elected leaders lead - that they read the sewer reports and work for changes that serve people and break us of the habit of war.


  1. Thanks, Mark. Well done. And thanks for the video, too. I needed a smile.

  2. All right! Finally something this conservative Episcopalian agrees with you on.
    End the war and end the American Empire.
    We've got plenty to do at home and for things abroad, I would rather export ploughshares than weapons and American blood.

    California priest

  3. So where is the moral outrage in America over Mr. Bush's two wars? Is it the fact that the number of service personnel who have died there is only around 10% of those killed in Viet Nam and because we do not have a draft a much smaller number of folks back home have any kind of real personal stake in it? I grew up in the fifties and sixties and served a year in Viet Nam, I am perplexed by the fact that those of my generation who protested so vigorously against that war have such a ho hum attitude about what has gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan the past ten years. It's disgusting and morally bankrupt.


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