Why did those Kids Have to Die? What do we do Now?

It was a sad day yesterday as I watched those stricken families mourn the loss of the American servicemen who were killed when an Afghan fighter with a simple grenade launcher shot down that military helicopter.

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I wept as the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters – and above all widows and children – talked about their tragedy. As I watched and listened to the grief stricken adults and weeping children being interviewed on my TV screen, it was almost as if the loss was mine as well as theirs.

Was President Obama watching, I wondered. And if he was, how did he feel?

As Sandra observed, he seems so fond of his own daughters.

How does he have the heart to keep sending the sons and daughters of other Americans to risk death in Afghanistan?

Is it that important to keep the war industry going? Is the military-industrial lobby that powerful?

Are the Democratic members of Congress who have defense plants in their districts that persuasive?

I find it hard to believe. But what else can it be?

Obviously, the president sees no sense in the endless occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. He keeps promising to “draw down” the troops.

So why can’t they just come home without further ado?

America has more important battles to fight back home. And better ways to spend the money that’s wasted on war.

There’s the deadlocked government and the dwindling economy, for instance.

As I write this, stocks continue to tumble around the world as a result of the S&P downgrade of U.S. bonds.

Meanwhile, both parties continue to point fingers at each other, trying to make political capital out of a potentially catastrophic situation.

Yes, I agree with those who blame the obnoxious Tea Party. But what good does it do to keep yapping about it?

The question is now: What can America do to stop the rot?

Perhaps it’s time to get Congress out of the picture and call on the country’s brightest and best to chart a path forward.  Perhaps it’s time to abandon ideology and embark on a clear-headed approach to problems so deep that neither political party has the answer.

For starters, how about excluding members of Congress from the super-committee that’s called for in that debt ceiling “deal”?

In Canada they would call it a Royal Commission.

I would appoint academics, business executives and trade union leaders instead.

But that’s just me. You might be able to come up with a better mix.