« News & Views with Joel Heitkamp

We Can't Afford It (Written by: Joel Heitkamp)

by Amy Iler

You pay your bills. You have to pay your bills or they will kick you out of your house and take your car away. In America, we decided to put the bills for war on a credit card. A credit card our kids (and their kids) will have to pay off.

At some point in my lifetime, it became easy to sell war to the American people. I realize, it doesn't hurt we were attacked. On September 11th, 2001 this country found itself under Al-Qaeda’s attack, they brought war to our skies and land.

After that day, it wasn’t hard to convince the American people we needed to strike back. The problem became our focus on those who attacked us (or those who didn’t). Senator and Representatives, from both sides of the political isle, supported going to war against Iraq in the name of weapons of mass destruction.

The real enemy was in Pakistan. The real enemy was Osama bin Laden. In the end, our military and intelligence community hunted him down and justice was served. But, we ended up also standing the expense of the war in Iraq.

Wars come with great expense, in many different areas: human life, post traumatic stress, divorce and money, to name a few. After being at war 13 years, I often wonder if America trusts our leaders the same way we did after the 9-11 attacks. I don't think we do. I think we are tired of the machinery that surrounds war. I think we are tired of the people who - for personal or political gain - love to see our country at war.

What is happening in the Ukraine has the world’s attention. I would only ask that when the machinery of war takes to the debate again, you ask yourself, “what we can afford?”