Despite my blog being political, I have yet to post on the presidential debates until today. My absence has been primarily due to the issues I want discussed, like poverty and regulating Wall Street, being too taboo to actually be covered during our quadrennial national conversation on our country's most important issues. It is really a sad time for democracy when the future leaders of the free world are not allowed to engage in meaningful dialogue about important issues that affect the daily lives of average Americans. All they care about is getting their talking points in, even if they do not address the question answered by the moderator.
In fact, Martha Radditz' follow-up asking Paul Ryan for actual specifics when Ryan was spewing talking points about the Romney tax plan made yesterday's town hall debate more rigid than ever. The presidential candidates had to reaffirm to the moderator that her role is to ask the basic questions and keep time basically making a debate a forum for tiny speeches. However, thanks to Radditz, foreign policy has been heavy on the agenda for the debates and was present in yesterday's debate as well, and both candidates appeared not not want to scale back America's military prowess.
What does it mean to the American public that both presidential candidates have strong pro-military stances? A recent survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows that the militaristic tendency of our candidates is not a desirable trait. Americans, according to the survey, are tired of war and what it has brought the American people.
However, both candidates are for war in one way or another. Everyone proclaims that Obama got the US out of Iraq. Except the real truth is that he left 30,000 non-combat troops there. That's NOT pulling out of Iraq. Also, let's not forget our forgotten war, Afghanistan, that recently celebrated the somber milestone of having the 2000th american soldier killed not to mention the thousands of Afghani and Pakistani civilians dead from drone attacks under President Obama. Romney too seems more than eager to get the US tangled into more conflicts in the Middle East. How many reminders do our candidates need that America's massive deficit is due to our exploding military budget thanks to our two unnecessary wars.
So here we are in 2012 and Americans, to the world's surprise, have had it with war except our politicians. So what do Americans really dislike about America's foreign policy's focus on war? Well, the survey showed that Americans do not feel safer from terrorism because of these wars, and wasn't that the "main" purpose of at least one of them? Here are other key findings of the survey:
- 67 percent of those surveyed said the Iraq War was not worth fighting.
- 69 percent said the war in Afghanistan has made the U.S. less safe from terrorism and/or made no difference.
- 78 percent said the U.S. has been too active in its role as world policeman.
- Over 50 percent of Americans are opposed to keeping long-term military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- 67 percent opposed sending arms and supplies to anti-government groups in Syria.
- 72 percent opposed bombing Syrian air defenses and 81 percent opposed committing U.S. troops to Syria.
- Only 27 percent favored the U.S. striking Iran's nuclear facilities without obtaining the proper authorization from the UN.
- 59 percent said the U.S. should not get involved if military actions take place between Israel and Iran.
- Only 16 percent think economic sanctions are "very effective" in modifying nations that violate international law.
- 68 percent want the U.S. defense budget cut along with other programs to address the growing deficit.
These figures aren't small potatoes. For the first time, it looks like Americans aren't divided right down the middle on important issues like the military. Americans are calling for stability and that comes from having an economy that's not focused around creating war and funneling American resources abroad. Why won't the candidates realize we need those resources here now? Maybe then we can have an actual debate on how to fix our domestic issues.
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