Do We Need to Lay Carpet or Go to War?

From my new camera on 11-11-13 329

If you know that the three angles of a particular triangle add up to a total of 180 degrees you have a specific piece of knowledge. But if you know that the angles of any triangle you come upon equal a total of 180 degrees, you have valuable understanding that will save you from having to measure the angles of every triangle you ever see. If nothing else, it could save you a lot of time and energy to have an education in such things.

Similarly, how do you know the area of a circle (maybe you want to put a floor covering on a round room)? Multiply pi (roughly 3.14) times the radius of the circle squared. So if your circle has a radius of 10 feet, its area in square feet would be 3.14 times 100 feet (10′ squared) which equals 314 square feet. If you used a more exact number for pi (say 3.141592653589793) you’d come out to 314.1592653589793 square feet, so the easiest thing to do is buy enough to cover 314.16 square feet of flooring.

I’m just saying that it’s nice not to have to rediscover the most efficient ways to accomplish complex tasks that people who lived long before us already discovered. A= pi times r(squared) ALWAYS gives us the area of a circle. But if you apply the same type of wisdom toward other subjects, such as history, you could accept this piece of wisdom: “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” That applies as common sense when faced with a situation like how expensive the repercussions of war turn out to be every time. America is still paying the medical cost (as one example of the costs) for Vietnam.

I have friends who still travel to Charleston or Columbia, SC VA hospitals every month to be treated for the physical and psychological wounds they received in Vietnam. The financial cost of waging the Vietnam War at the time came to around $500 million (several billion in today’s dollars), but that was a drop in the bucket compared to the other costs we’ve incurred since then, because of the war. The money we have spent on wounded warriors in a variety of ways including medical, training, prison for many, homelessness for many, inability of many to contribute to society in a productive way, programs for all, and so on, has been in the trillions (if it can even be calculated). Yet, we were ready to jump into all the versions of the Gulf War since back in 2001 (don’t kid yourself, almost all of us were for it after 9/11), when other, less expensive, more successful measures could have been pursued to bring the villains to justice.

Now, again, we have people calling for the same unsuccessful, impossibly expensive responses to the same emotional issues. Isn’t the area of a circle still solved in the same way that has historically worked instead of trying to solve it by the formula for the area of a square or by the formula for relativity. We need to study our history of how much war has cost us. How much better might we have spent that money? During times when the powers that be were not in our faces telling us that we needed to go to war with smaller countries, because they were challenging or offending us, were times when we did not incur massive debt and we did accomplish more productive works for the good of America and the world.

As WWII was waged, the freedom and national geography of all the people on Earth were at risk. That was a war that had to be fought. Monsters were attempting to devour the world. Since then, America has gone to war with Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Trillions have been spent conducting those wars . . . Why? What purposes did they serve?

The reason we continue to use pi times radius (squared) to determine the area of a circle is that it always works. Why do we continue to listen to the voices (always with hidden agendas) who are inflaming us to go to war over differences and offenses that can be handled in better, cheaper ways with little or no loss of life? A well worn saying goes, “Follow the money, and you’ll know why.”

Who profits (financially) when we spend lots of money conducting a war? I’m not going to name names, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the typical taxpayers struggling to make ends meet, or even the ones that are making a reasonable income with secure retirements awaiting them. I’m pretty sure it’s the people who sell the implements of war and all the supplies that must be shipped to where the latest war is waged.

Now, I’ve got to go to Lowes. My wife wants me to buy carpet for our rectangular shaped bedroom. Hmm, I wonder if I should use my formula for the area of a circle to figure out how much carpet to buy. What do you think?

BTW, I know a little bit about being in a war. In 27 years of military service I served in Vietnam (69-70), the First Gulf War (90-91), Operation Just Cause (1989), and a few other military operations most civilians would not recognize. My assessment is that they were all a big waste of money, property, natural resources, human relationships (including countless marriages), and lives. If you’d like to read my book, which, even though it is science fiction, is based on my year in Vietnam, and speaks about the evils of war and the forces that profit from war, you can sample and/or buy it by clicking this:

You may find other essays, poems and photography I have created at which you can get to by clicking the link in this sentence.


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