Nested truths, cascading problems
Tom H. Hastings
We see at least five basic truths emerging after Congress last week agreed to provide $59 billion to continue financing America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One, Barack Obama baldly lied to us when he promised in his campaign that the days of funding wars via supplemental spending bills–acting as though an ongoing war were suddenly an unpredictable emergency–those days were done. Just elect me, he promised, and you’ll never see that bait-and-switch again. We got gamed. This supplemental was voted in at his personal request.
Two, the war president and his pushbutton Senate and House war allies are committed to absolutely draining the American taxpayer of all lootable funds.
All the idiot lights on the American societal dashboard are flashing red — unemployment is worsening, housing is sliding, BP has befouled the Gulf of Mexico for the next century, militarism has penetrated even the grade schools of our coarsening country with Starbase, and we are wondering where our next energy meal is coming from — and yet these federal elected ‘leaders’ have just conspired to continue this incredible self-inflicted war financing hemorrhage.
Three, this draw from both your paycheck, and the social services available to you and yours, is done despite a whistleblower’s Wikileaks release of 91,000 documents that prove American war crimes in the conduct of the wars. The disclosures effectively show yet again that all the U.S. military is ultimately doing is aiding al-Qa’ida , the Taliban and other Islamist recruiting around the world.
Four, applying one bit of commonsense and human decency to this would result in the U.S. ending its armed occupation of Afghanistan and launching a far less expensive rebuilding program via the U.N. This would serve to dry up motivation to shoot, bomb, kidnap, stab and otherwise attack Americans. This cannot be done at gunpoint.
Rebuilding America’s image will be done by unarmed and unguarded people giving help, never by armed troops. We will do this with nonviolence–gasp!–or it will never be done. Never.
Five, the Republicans will fight tooth and nail against every single thing Obama might try to do for people on the ground. Their unity is mindlessly complete, forming a solid phalanx across access to help for the unemployed, the sick, those needing education, and simple household need for poor people. But give them a chance to vote more money for war and the bipartisan roses suddenly bloom, reddened by the blood of war victims on all sides and by the lifeblood of our culture and society.
The Ds and Rs probably couldn’t agree on whether the sun rises in the east, but they can find solidarity in war spending.
At some point the U.S. will downsize, draw in its horns from its military forward power projection wars and bases, and assume a more normal stature amongst the world nations.
The only question is, will the U.S. be worth saving at that point or will we continue this literal insanity straight over the cliff?
Tom H. Hastings directs PeaceVoice, a program of the Oregon Peace Institute.