Let’s weigh cost and benefit of war

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Cost and benefit. Sound familiar?

Every committee, every business, every governing body must address this term with some regularity if they are paying attention to success or failure.

We all hope there‘s something to show for it after we pay the bills, don’t we?

My old friend called the other day and asked me if the president can declare war on Syria. She’s a card-carrying member of the Grandmothers’ Roundtable and we don’t meet in August so she had to express her patriotic irritation to someone over the phone.

Well, I still like horses more than history, so please help us out here!

Can the president declare war (or whatever you call it) without congressional approval? Have we declared war lately, or just found another reason for minding someone’s business other than our own?

Back to cost and benefit involved in these profound declarations.

Who determines how much it costs us in men and materials when we help a neighbor such as Afghanistan? How can we measure the cost our young veterans have to pay as their lives are irrevocably changed by the wounds of battle? Why is our military budget so huge, and is it amended when benefits to returning warriors are reduced?

Before the rent is due on my soapbox, I’d like to ask how we take sides in these operations.

Whose crystal ball can promise that we know the real bad guys from so many miles away? Are we naive to think we can affect battles that were being fought years and years before we were the new kids on the block?

Maybe we should check the benefit box before the next support check is put in the mailbox.

Pat Yenney

Walla Walla

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