|We Need Funding At Home|
By Brian Hews
Remember when President Bush spoke to a group when he was running for his first term, proclaiming that gas prices at $1.50 were too high? Notice the price of gas lately? Remember when Wolfowitz, now the head of the World Bank, said the oil we will procure in Iraq will pay for all the reconstruction? Well, with the latest $80 billion increase, the war tab stands at a whopping $300 billion. Now Bush the Crusader and self-proclaimed Keeper of the Free and Democratic World pathetically begs his Saudi buddies to increase oil output while at the same time Congress signs off on the increased war funding, while domestic failures keep piling up.
Wolfowitz, days before the Iraq war, to Congress: "There is a lot of money to pay for the war, it doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, we are talking about a country that can finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.” Turned out to be nonsense, much like Secretary Powell’s WMD speech to the U.N. What did happen to those WMD? Never found, as a legion of 1,500 WMD experts said last week. But that’s ok, never question the Bush administration or they will have you removed, much like they did with Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki.
The approval of the latest spending needs to be put in perspective. The emergency funding passed last week gives another $80 billion, and only pays for the war’s operation through September. That is twice what President Bush insists he needs to cut from the federal support for Medicaid over the next ten years.
Missouri, a Red State, is going to end its Medicaid program entirely within the next three years because of the lack of funds. As reported in the local press, it will save the state $5 billion, but at the cost of ending healthcare for the more than one million enrolled in the program. This, while Halliburton, Vice President Cheney’s old company, has been paid almost $10 billion.
Ten percent of what has been spent on the war could make up the shortfall in paying for Bush’s ludicrous No Child Left Behind Act, which tells public schools they will be closed if they do not improve, but does not provide the means to do so. A school can improve its “score” for three straight years – even by 100% – but if it is not over an arbitrary threshold of 51%, it is closed.
It is these kinds of failures that threaten us more than any foreign terrorists can. We must support our troops at all costs, while here at home our leaders are all about tough love. Draw the line; just don’t draw it in Iraq. Fix the “ailing” Social Security system; just keep money set aside for the war.
Retired General Anthony Zinni, one of the most respected and outspoken military leaders of the past two decades, said, “There has been poor strategic thinking in this; there has been poor operational planning and execution on the ground. And to think that we are going to ‘stay the course,’ the course is headed over Niagara Falls. It’s time to change course a bit, because it's been a failure.” Now that the failures are hitting home, they are a far greater long-term threat than anything from abroad.
Brian Hews is the President/Co-Publisher of Los Cerritos Community Newspaper