Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 5, 2007
This comic came out the Monday after we here in West Michigan (and our town of Grandville in particular) were absolutely cur-rushed by an honest-to-God blizzard. Two feet of snow, blowing and drifting, negative temperatures, double-digit negative wind chills. It was nasty, sure. But despite my grousing about the time it took to remove all that snow from off and around the house and the fact that my feet (despite three plus pairs of socks) were perpetually cold, it really wasn’t that bad. In the end, I decided when I wanted to be inside and warm and away from the nastiness.
Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on the other hand — not so blessed. They are not only having to deal with levels of discomfort way, way beyond my drippy nose, but there are also the issues of being away from home, away from family, with an unclear mission, with mixed support, and — oh, yeah — all sorts of people constantly trying to kill them (with appalling success).
Which got me to thinking, what have we, the folks who aren’t in or around the military, done so far to sacrifice for these wars? (Yes, yes — beyond the deficit billions of our children’s tax money that has been spent.) Not much, really. And to be clear, by “sacrifice for the war,” I mean, “sacrifice to avoid war” and not “sacrifice so we can make more war.”
Specifically I’m thinking we need a serious, long-term, energy policy that slows and eventually stops the flow of money to countries and radicals that are funding wars against us. I’m talking about an effort beyond the scale of the one that put a man on the moon. What do we have to do to stop importing foreign oil? Gas taxes? Epic conservation efforts? Rethinking nuclear power? Serious public transportation? More funding for engineering schools? Hey, even if it means wearing four pairs of socks, wouldn’t it be worth the sacrifice?