MSNBC's Ratigan: American's Don't 'Give A Damn' About Iraq and Afghan Wars; Calls for Draft

On Thursday's The Dylan Ratigan Show, MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan went after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and complained about the lack opposition to the conflicts: "Why isn't there an alarm that we've been perpetrating this war?...there aren't enough people in this country that honestly give a damn. No one really cares." His solution to the supposed apathy? A draft. [Audio available here]

Ratigan began his rant by describing the financial and human toll of the wars. He particularly highlighted "the innocent civilians that our bombs are killing. As many as 105,000 dead in Iraq, the number in Afghanistan approaching 13,000, that we have killed." He argued: "We might even be creating more terrorists....being there may be doing more harm than good." On his May 13 program, Ratigan condemned the U.S. military for "dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly."

Describing the limited number of Americans who have loved ones on the front lines, Ratigan proclaimed: "...it's a way for the politicians to isolate on the poorest and the most isolated group of soldiers they can get and protect themselves from our society, were they to understand how violent and oppressive the actions we are taking against our own people are in perpetrating these wars." Ratigan then proposed: "...we have to raise the stakes on this to decide whether we get out or keep going. And the only way I can see to do that is to return the draft." He further declared: "Maybe if the sons and daughters of more Americans families, like those of our politicians, were either being killed in combat or facing the stresses of endless repeat deployment, our policymakers would start questioning why we're still there..."

After a discussing the topic with a panel of military experts, Ratigan admitted: "I'll be the first to tell you, I'm the most ignorant at the table when it comes to the strategic analysis of this topic." Even so, he concluded: "...the solution is still fairly simple....Either you're on the side that is with this and is for it and is in there supporting it, or you are there making a strong case not to be there....that means that you, if you're willing to go, are willing to send yourself and your family members into combat. And on the flip side, in my view, are not willing to do that and as such wouldn't want to send a fellow citizen." An on-screen graphic read: "Get Out or Get In! End the Wars or Bring Back the Draft."

Here is transcript of the July 1 segment:

4:30PM

DYLAN RATIGAN: Well, day four in our 'Fix It Week' garage. And today we tackle a true matter of life and death in this country, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them, already America's longest war. The other, unfortunately, not far behind, long and costly. $731 billion spent so far in Iraq. $280 billion in our efforts in Afghanistan with no clear end in sight at the end of the deadliest month in the history of the war. The cost in American lives 4,396 soldiers dead in Iraq. 1,125 killed in Afghanistan. And then there are the innocent civilians that our bombs are killing. As many as 105,000 dead in Iraq, the number in Afghanistan approaching 13,000, that we have killed.

There are two main problems with what we're doing overseas, as I see it, and why we're not doing it well. The first, we have no political will to shift from a strategy that has been repeating itself for years with no apparent end in sight. And two, there may not even be an honest understanding of our enemy and what a modern day insurgent war strategy is, let alone, how to actually fight an effective counterinsurgency. We all know about the heroin, the bribery, the rampant political corruption. But what about our overall strategy? And what we're doing? We might even be creating more terrorists. Our leaders may not even understand the insurgency that they are fighting against. Think about how difficult it would be to launch a so-called counterinsurgency strategy if you haven't been able to be truly honest about how a modern day insurgency works. Very few people, unrelated, using the internet and communications to disrupt society. Bottom line, us being there may be doing more harm than good.

So why isn't that conversation taking place in our Congress and in our homes? Why isn't there an alarm that we've been perpetrating this war? Well, quite simply, like the cheap price of oil, there aren't enough people in this country that honestly give a damn. No one really cares. They may say they care. But the politicians know, there's no – the phone's not ringing. No one really is expressing themselves. In fact, the number of active duty troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is at the lowest level since World War II. Which means the percentage of us that are exposed to the realties of war in this country, that we've been fighting for a decade, is the smallest it has ever been.

Why is that? Well, more than a third of our soldiers have been sent back to the front lines multiple times. Some of the same soldiers sent back five and six times to the same war. Why is that? Well, it's a way for the politicians to isolate on the poorest and the most isolated group of soldiers they can get and protect themselves from our society, were they to understand how violent and oppressive the actions we are taking against our own people are in perpetrating these wars.

It means that the fewest number of Americans are truly feeling the brunt of our wars. Meanwhile, those who are feeling it, feel it harder than any troops in American history. I think we have to raise the stakes on this to decide whether we get out or keep going. And the only way I can see to do that is to return the draft. Maybe if the sons and daughters of more Americans families, like those of our politicians, were either being killed in combat or facing the stresses of endless repeat deployment, our policymakers would start questioning why we're still there and come up with a different way to deal with insurgent warfare in the 21st century.

[PANEL DISCUSSION WITH MILITARY EXPERTS]

RATIGAN: I'll be the first to tell you, I'm the most ignorant at the table when it comes to the strategic analysis of this topic. It's why I asked these gentlemen to join me and benefit from it. But politically, for me, the solution is still fairly simple. I don't see how, after all these years and all this time, we can continue these types of strategies without an either 'get out' or 'get in' strategy. Either you're on the side that is with this and is for it and is in there supporting it, or you are there making a strong case not to be there.

[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: The Fix Solution: Get Out or Get In! End the Wars or Bring Back the Draft]

And explaining, not emotionally, but from a policy standpoint, why that is. And that means that you, if you're willing to go, are willing to send yourself and your family members into combat. And on the flip side, in my view, are not willing to do that and as such wouldn't want to send a fellow citizen. Either way, you have to let your politicians know how you feel. We, the people are critical to this process. Dylan.MSNBC.com has contact information for each and every member of Congress. Remember, you can get mad – or you don't get mad, I should say, if you don't get involved. This is a classic example.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC