Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just Like That: Another $33 Billion

Did you know that  our esteemed leaders in Washington just appropriated another $33 billion for continuation of the the war in Afghanistan? It just so happens that this is just about the same amount of money required to fund an extension of  unemployment benefits for the next six months for about 5 million Americans trying to survive this recession. Not that the US has a very generous unemployment setup as it is. But now the Republicans in the House and Senate have advertised once again their true selves as exemplars of the worst of the meanness and cruelty in the American character.

Nobody in the Congress of the US is poor, but the Republican party is especially the friend of the rich Americans, and this sort of grinding down of people already down plays very well with the well-to-do classes. A  large majority of whom would, if they had their way, allow no unemployment benefits, no food stamps, no social programs at all. 

But I'm losing my train of thought, which was to point out once again, what this country could be accomplishing with $33 billion if it were not pissing it away in a useless, pointless war in Afghanistan. First, there's the matter of who is getting this $33 billion. Well, it's like this: the soldiers get some; corrupt Afghan warlords (who are squirreling their blood money away in Swiss bank accounts) get some; we give some to the poppy farmers and drug lords so they can create heroin; we give some to the very people we're fighting, the Taliban, bribes not to attack our people and convoys; and let's not forget the war profiteers, all those armaments and munitions manufacturers who never, ever saw a war they didn't support.

So what could be done with $33 billion if we weren't wasting it in fruitless war? Well, for starters there's the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf. It's reported that BP is spending a billion dollars a month on clean up. Just think how many of those unemployed people could be employed in the cleanup operations with just a small portion of that $33 billion. What about part of $33 billion to shore up local school districts who are laying off teachers all over the country in frantic efforts to cope with this recession?

But, no. It's in our national interest to continue a wasteful and scandalous war that has already gone on longer than any other this country has fought. Killing people half a world away is more important than anything that needs doing in this country. 
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