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Letter: Diplomacy must come before conflict

Conflicts post 9/11 have been costly in both lives and expense

Remembrance Day has come and gone for another year. The veterans were gratefully acknowledged and rightfully praised for their service and sacrifices.

Although recriminations may be seen as a provocative distraction from the symbolism of the poppy, it is worth recalling what Tony Benn, a renowned British politician, once said: “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”

Admittedly, there are some circumstances when diplomatic solutions were, are, and will be impossible to achieve. But history shows that far too often genuine, imaginative diplomacy, and/or unified economic pressures, could have saved the lives of countless soldiers and citizens. The Northern Ireland conflict lasted three decades before an end to the violence was finally negotiated. More than a million people died in the Vietnam war and it cost more than $1 trillion in today’s currency. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, the number of people killed in the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere are estimated to be more than 800,000.

The economic impact of these post-9/11 wars has cost more than $6 trillion.

Reasons why we observe Remembrance Day should be reflected on every day of the year.

We owe it to the maimed and the fallen to speak out against chauvinistic saber-rattling and manipulative propaganda, including the malicious comments posted on social media platforms. Our political leaders should be told, in no uncertain terms, to exhaust all possible diplomatic channels before releasing the dogs of war.

Read more: Many veterans have repeated messages about the importance of preventing another war

Read more: Trump marks another 9-11 anniversary with war still raging

Lloyd Atkins

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