problems, not targets

Six years ago, President Obama was all for bringing our troops home from far-off wars. Much of that has happened. Now new threats to world peace are prompting some war hawks to push for “sending in the troops,” no matter where the trouble is brewing.

Good thing our military is controlled by a civilian Secretary of Defense. The military men will always advise on sending in the troops. They are trained to recommend no other way.

We hope that the President fully understands that many people in the United States, if not the majority, do not want to see more of our military men and women remembered silently on the PBS News Hour, and in other media, from losing their life in a far-off war. Those who die in these efforts will never help solve the ages-on conflicts between many of those countries.

That’s one reason we should stay out.

Not only that, but in nations who for years have been ruled by either a dictatorship, or kingdom, what right have we in the United States to try to dictate these nations toward democracy? Many of these areas are virtually religiously-run countries, with beliefs far different from American mores. While we may not like some of their policies, who are we to say what is best for that particular country, no matter how wrong their policies seem? Why are we the arbiter of what is right for Ethiopia, Scotland, Iraq or Iran or even China, Nigeria, India or Cuba?

Granted recent reports of outcast rebels chopping off the heads of newsmen, or punishing a woman for acting against religious beliefs, are distasteful. But should this become a signal for American to act?

No, it does not.

One of the reasons the world is festering with more problems in recent years is the vast and speedy communications of today. We know more about the world, even in some of the most remote areas of the earth, than ever before. Disasters, hurricanes, fires, political uprisings by rebels, and all-out war between nations, can become instant news. While in recent years, we may not have know as much about these problems, all too often each of these news events becomes a call of some for the Untied States to act.

Simply put, we can’t be the policeman or the traffic court judge for the entire world.

Marine Expeditionary Force humanitarian response
Humanitarian operations on Panay Island
Humanitarian soldier
Sailors stage pallets of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies
Sea Hawk prepares to land
USS Essex flight deck supports delivery of humanitarian relief
United States Navy Humanitarian Aid
US Air Force Humanitarian airdrop
US Army Africa Reserve medical
USNS Comfort underway for humanitarian assistance

However, there is one way Americans might be more helpful to the world, because of our vast resources, because of our ability to deliver quickly, and because of our “heart.”

Should President Obama want to send relief for natural outbreaks, such as the Ebola Virus, or an earthquake, or other disasters, perhaps our country could be of service there. Even our military might lead the way.

Instead of sending in troops for fighting, perhaps our nation could send in medical teams to combat the medical crisis… or military police to bring order to areas heading into frightened possibilities because of widespread disease (but not civil war)… or perhaps in the Ebola outbreak, send in Army Quartermaster’s Graves Registration units to provide burial services for those dying from disease, and for burials.

That would be the America waging a war on problems, not military targets. While it would put some personnel in possible peril, these troops would not be Americans fighting a combat operation to uphold a questionable nation.

Our technology, our resources and our pride, could be of immense service. Most Americans, we suspect, would approve.

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Editor's Note: This story also published at GwinnettForum.com. Images: US Army Africa Reserve medical via US Army Africa flickr photostream; US Air Force Humanitarian airdrop via US Air Force flickr photostream; United States Navy Humanitarian Aid via United States Navy flickr photostream; Humanitarian Operations on Panay Island via DVIDSHUB flickr photostream; Humanitarian Soldier via STE*Photo flickr photostream; Sea Hawk prepares to land via Official U.S. Navy Page flickr photostream; 3rd MEB humanitarian response via III Marine Expeditionary Force/ Marine Corps Installations Pacific flickr photostream; USNS Comfort underway for humanitarian assistance via Official U.S. Navy Page flickr photostream; Sailors stage pallets of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies via Official U.S. Navy Page flickr photostream; USS Essex flight deck supports delivery of humanitarian relief to Japan via Official U.S. Navy Page flickr photostream; - all used under a Creative Commons license.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.