There’s No Positive Way to Spin 30,000 New Troops And $30 Billion for War

By Julianne Hing Dec 02, 2009

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I watched the President’s speech last night and I am going to save you a little time by paraphrasing his 33-minute speech as follows: The war is not over yet. But it will be over soon, someday, maybe. President Obama said a few contradictory things; he called for 30,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan but also said he hopes to start sending American troops home in 2011. I remember him campaigning on the promise of spending more resources to focus on Afghanistan over Iraq, and we all know Obama isn’t the one who started this mess, he’s the guy who’s in charge of cleaning it up. So I guess none of us should be shocked. But it’s disappointing that the national events that have taken place in the interim–I just saw the crippled economy and a very defeated looking healthcare reform hobbling down the hallway–haven’t changed Obama’s perspective. We’re looking at an uptick in food stamp usage that has erased the stigma of turning to public assistance. This seems like a positive cultural shift, but shouldn’t the government be ashamed that this is the new norm? Current unemployment levels rival those of the Great Depression, and are nearly double if you’re Black or Latino and don’t have a college degree. (But there are no promises if you’re Black and do have your B.A.) And students at public colleges who are trying to make their way in the world are facing yearly, and exponential, tuition increases that are turning higher education into a luxury commodity. Meanwhile, public schools are on the fast track to being a privatized industry by the time Obama officials like Arne Duncan are through with them. I know a few places where the $30 billion price tag for this new "escalation" could go. On principle alone we at RaceWire are against sending more American troops abroad to sustain what amounts to a straight-up occupation. It’s unjustifiable; too many losses, too many deaths. According to, at least 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion, and according to, the death toll for American and ally soldiers is over 6,000. The war and America’s stated intentions for hanging around in the region have blurred into fuzzy abstraction. It’s not just that we have enough problems at home; it’s that the war is unjust and expensive and, oh yeah, many more people will be killed because of it in the next few years. This war is costing us money that we don’t have and lives that don’t need to be lost. But in the meantime, thank goodness for Rep. Maxine Waters (in the video above) and Rep. Barbara Lee.