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Rationally Assessing The War
Theres been an ongoing debate, here and across America about the Iraq War. This debate is well and good, but I think that rather than wallowing in emotion, we should submit it to a dispassionate, cost-benefit analysis. So here goes.
Benefits: We deposed a truly evil tyrant who was oppressing his own people and threatening his neighbors. And it makes some of us feel better in thinking were doing something to address the threat of terrorism.
Costs: Over a hundred billion dollars (and rising) for reconstruction costs, alone. 800 American deaths and rising. Thousands of injured, many disabled. An estimated 14,000 Iraqi civilians dead. And, our international standing has been shot to hell.
Kind of a stiff price to pay for the above benefits. Especially when you consider that deposing Saddam does not automatically result in a stable, new Iraq. It may yet collapse into chaos, which would give Al Qaeda a new, failed country to exploit. Or it could become an anti-American, Iranian-style theocracy. In either case, we will have sacrificed blood and treasure for a Pyrrhic victory.
As far as making us more safe, it may well have the opposite effect. We have alienated virtually the entire world, so their assistance and cooperation in fighting terrorism will not always be readily forthcoming. We have provided Arab and Muslin hotheads with more motive to attack us, and a great recruiting inducement for Al Qaeda.
Under "Benefits," I indicated that it makes some of us feel safer. A misguided feeling is all youll get here, not a reality. We know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the secular Baath regime of Saddam did not support Al Qaeda, and there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. So Iraq, though ruled by a monster, was not a threat to us.
I suppose there is one benefit that I forgot: the highest-ranking people in the Bush administration have been exposed as radical, reckless, and living in an ideological world rather than in reality.
Stephen Van Eck
Deserving Group Of Veterans
The Susquehanna County Office of Veterans Affairs has a special message for a deserving group of veterans Americas former prisoners of war. I ask that you help me in getting that message out to this special group of veterans.
VA has liberalized their benefits to cover increasing numbers of former POWs. Several illnesses have recently been shown as related to their wartime captivity. Even former POWs already receiving compensation from VA may be eligible for additional benefits.
I am encouraging former POWs living in Susquehanna County to check their eligibility now and make sure theyre receiving the benefits theyve earned. Former POWs are eligible for special compensation and health care benefits that many may not know about.
The VA Regional Office and Insurance Center (VAROIC) in Philadelphia has mailed information about benefits to several hundred known former POWs. However, VA knows there are many more POWs for whom they do not have an address.
The VA is working with the local County Office of Veterans Affairs as well as state and national veterans service organizations. The Philadelphia VAROIC has established a former-POW coordinator position and assembled a special team to process these claims from this deserving group. VA is asking us to help spread the word that benefits and services may be just a phone call away. For information, former POWs should call the Department of Veterans Affairs toll-free at 1-800-827-1000 or contact me at the Susquehanna County Office of Veterans Affairs at 2784600, ext. 260.
Director Veterans Affairs
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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