BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Let’s be clear about a few things right from the start: 1) In matters concerning budget balancing and deficit reduction, America doesn’t have a “welfare” problem, it has a “warfare” problem; 2) With respect to solutions, one party concedes that all government expenditures must be on the table, the other says the same, but lies; 3) I’d love to argue these points with some really smart, fair-minded right-wingers, but that’s an oxymoron. Here are what any RATIONAL person would have to agree are some altogether indefensible U.S. “warfare” facts:
A) America spends as much on its military as the next 21 countries COMBINED!
B) America spends 6 TIMES as much on its military as its closest rival, China!
C) America maintains over 1,000 military bases OUTSIDE the United States!
D) America maintains approximately 195 military bases INSIDE the United States!
E) Total U.S. defense-related expenditures for 2010 exceeded a TRILLION DOLLARS and will do the same for 2011!
Try digesting all of that in light of right side aisle sitters telling us that social welfare programs must be slashed if there’s to be any hope of balancing the budget and reducing the deficit. Haven’t been kicked hard enough? Okay, here’s an absolute gem: House Republicans are currently proposing a 13% cut in the WIC program while at the same time debating a 17 BILLION DOLLAR INCREASE to the Pentagon’s budget! Still savoring the pain? Alright, try this: 6.6 BILLION DOLLARS in CASH sent to Iraq in 2003/2004 was either stolen or is otherwise unaccounted for (that’s government speak for “we don’t have the slightest f _ _ _ ing idea where it went”).
Now that I’ve got your attention, here’s a little surprise: NONE of the figures mentioned above, annual or otherwise, include the costs of actually FIGHTING wars! That’s a whole different ballgame entirely. The monetary costs of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total over 1.2 TRILLION DOLLARS and climbing. And that doesn’t include the inevitable cost of ongoing medical care for the wounded, both physical and mental. Those costs are expected to total nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS more!
Incidentally, the tab for “missiling” Libya shouldn’t amount to more than a couple $100 MILLION (about the cost of employing 5,000 teachers for a year)! I apologize for not including the costs of maintaining intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA, but those “incidental” MEGA-BILLION DOLLAR outlays are never made available to the “rational.”
All that being said, and with apparent back trouble in the White House, where does it leave the good guys in the struggle over funding priorities? Hard to say, but for now it looks like the left siders are on their own. I do have a few suggestions, however. Start by dropping the niceties. Get up in their faces (all two of them) and stay there. Loudly expose every lie, omission and obfuscation. Meet fire with a firestorm. Turn the mainstream media into an immediate response MEGAphone. Force these guns-beat-butter bastards to explain to the American people why it’s more important to fill coffins and stretchers building nations overseas than to rebuild rotting infrastructures here at home. Make these wealthfare worshiping warmongers explain loudly and clearly to the American people why it’s more important to maintain a totally unnecessary, unconscionably costly, utterly absurd and archaic worldwide military monstrosity than to provide ALL Americans with affordable health care, a dignified aging process, and food and shelter for the less fortunate among them.
This just in: Obama’s going to reduce troop strength in Afghanistan by 10,000 this year! Wow! Can his declaring Conscientious Objector status be far behind?! It’s another middle finger to the American public who overwhelmingly oppose continued involvement. Mr. President, since you profess to be keeping America safe by continuing to prosecute this godforsaken abomination, I want to know just how “safe” you kept your share of the 1,632 brave Americans who have been butchered so far. How “safe” did you keep your share of the nearly 12,000 brave Americans who have been seriously maimed so far? Will you be “keeping safe” God knows how many future dead and wounded as well. Even with an abacus I can tally that there will STILL be 70 THOUSAND brave Americans at risk of life and limb by the winter of 2012! And to think we went in there just to get bin Laden and dismantle al Qaeda. Thanks, and keep us safe Mr. President. Oh, by the way, Happy Nation Building!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.
1,632 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan
11,191 = The number of Americans wounded in Afghanistan.
0 = To date the number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history.