In April 1953, the famous "red state" Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower made this famous statement about the trade-offs between war spending and human needs:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

No one knows this better than veterans, and on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out are making the same connection in a education and service caravan they are leading through the South.

Last night they conducted a vigil in Columbia, S.C. -- home of Fort Jackson, an army base that has seen many soldiers deployed to Iraq.

The end destination: the Gulf Coast, a region still devastated from Hurricane Katrina in large part because of a lack of federal action. The team will help rebuild houses and draw attention to the need for Washington to jump-start the recovery.