Letters to the Editor

Congressman Larsen votes to pay for wars

Ballots have arrived in the mail. Please, before you vote for U.S. representative, be aware that the incumbent, Rick Larsen, has voted "yea" for $1 trillion for wars.

Taxpayers of San Juan County are responsible for $53.7 million for military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. What do Larsen's "yea" votes really mean for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, for our own soldiers and their families?

Each time I try to write about all that war entails — the troop deployments and air strikes, military contractors, money spent for military base building, armaments, and fuel, the training and arming of foreign soldiers and police, destroyed civilian infrastructure, night raids and check points, detentions and interrogations, people fearing for their lives, traumatized, burying dead family members, sickness and poverty — words fail to capture the fullness of the fear, devastation and suffering of war. Rep. Larsen, our incumbent, has consistently voted "yea" for us to pay for all of this. Can you imagine other ways, more effective ways, to spend our money to increase human security?

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Larsen is charged with overseeing the well-being of our U.S. military forces. The official casualty count from the wars is 5,500 dead and 38,000 injured. This official count does not include deaths from suicides and accidents, and widespread injuries such as PTSD, hearing loss, and disease contracted while deployed — all included, the casualty count rises over 500,000. How well has Rep. Larsen cared for the well-being of our servicemen and women?

If you believe in war as the best strategy for human security and want to continue paying for it, vote for the incumbent. If you want something different, if you want openness to other ways of improving security for everyone, I suggest that you study the other candidates and choose carefully before you vote.

Rena Patty

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