The wars have also taken a human toll on the 9th District. Besides the Tech Corps of Cadets alumni who have been killed in action, the following residents of the district have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan: Brandon Asbury, Jesse Ault, Chad Barrett, Jonathan Bowling, Jason Deibler, Michael Dooley, Kenneth Gibson, Jeffrey Kaylor, David Lambert, Ryan McGlothlin and Gregory Pennington.
To many of us, these are simply names printed on paper. But for some in the New River Valley, these are the names of loved ones. For most of us, these names evoke no emotional response, but for dozens of our neighbors, each name represents the loss of a son, brother, cousin, nephew, grandson or father.
As the wars drag on, America’s standing in the world will continue to decline. This will affect 9th District residents, particularly Tech students, in unforeseen ways.
In 2007, Steven Kull of the Program on International Policy Attitudes testified before Congress about America’s image in the world. PIPA conducted a large-scale poll inside dozens of countries and found citizens around the globe view American influence as negative. So much so, in fact, that the numbers are “the lowest that have ever been recorded.”
Contributing greatly to America’s negative image were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current war-mongering with Iran.
Many vacationing Americans have already lied and pretended to be from Canada. Americans can increasingly expect to face hostilities when traveling abroad. As the economic climate in the U.S. continues to deteriorate, many graduates will look abroad for better job opportunities.
These job seekers will find it more difficult to gain employment. Biased employers who hold a grudge against the U.S. and its foreign policy will hire Europeans or Asians instead.
As the PIPA study showed, resentment toward America is widespread and not localized to Middle Eastern countries.
Costs in dollars and lives will accumulate as Congress and President Barack Obama expand war in the Middle East. The 9th District cannot afford to support Washington’s interventionist foreign policy.
With our 7.8 percent unemployment rate, that money could be better spent here in the district. War is destroying the wealth that is desperately needed here at home. A dozen families have already lost loved ones to these wars. We cannot afford to lose any more neighbors.
What once was a respected “city on a hill” is quickly becoming one of the most hated countries in the world. This increasingly negative view of America puts all of us who travel overseas at risk.