*Ø* Blogmanac | Can this be fair?
Grassroots movement in USA to avoid cost of repairing Iraq damage
There is an email (*see below) that is doing the rounds of the Net, and it's just one example of a growing, widespread movement in America. The new movement opposes granting Bush $87 billion for reconstruction work in Iraq. The argument generally made is that Americans deserve to have the money spent on them more than Iraqis do. "Why should we send all that money to Iraq when our own economy is down the hole?" is the line generally taken.
While one sympathises with anyone who resents giving Bush a dime, one must ask whether this attitude is fair. Shrub might have got into power with a minority of the votes of the electorate, but he did have most Americans backing him to the hilt when it came to invading the sovereign nation of Iraq.
Survey after survey reveals, astonishingly, that the majority opinion in the USA is that Iraq (and Afghanistan) had involvement in the Twin Towers event. We know that Bush invaded Afghanistan not to catch bin Laden – after all, the Taliban offered to turn him over to an international court or third party country – but to secure oil and gas pipelines. By now everybody has heard the fact that Bush did not invade Iraq to stop "Weapons of Mass Destruction", for the evidence was always abundant that there were none.
Now we learn that something like 60 or 70 per cent of Bush's electorate actually believes that the USA has already found
WMDs in Iraq, and 70 per cent believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9-11! This in spite of the fact that Hussein and bin Laden were as much enemies as Bush and Castro. How can millions of people be so unaware of the facts?
Obviously the fact that the USA has the most restricted media outside totalitarian states is affecting these figures – our American brothers and sisters simply are not getting the news and commentary that the rest of the world is enjoying. I heard somewhere recently that something like 98 per cent of the TV programming in America is actually from
America. Compare this with any other country: in Australia probably about 70 per cent of our programming comes from overseas, such as Britain, USA, as well as many countries in Europe and Asia (mostly). My American friends constantly complain to me that all they get is "Made in America" news and current affairs. This is so sad. No wonder Bush had such a mandate for his Machiavellian schemes. Americans go to war to learn geography.
The US, not Iraq or the UN, must take responsibility
So now we have this strange situation that all these Americans – most of whom, I'm sure, are probably decent people at heart, but fed by false information from this bullying, lying president and media with vested interests in military sales – all these Americans who wanted to blast innocent Iraqi families to smithereens, now don't want to patch up the immense damage they caused. Can this be fair?
The arguments posed by organisations like the National Priorities Project (below) sound very persuasive, even compassionate. It's politics of the warm inner glow. "Let's not spend money in Iraq, let's spend the money on soccer balls for Jimmy and Jenny; let's build new hospitals in Oklahoma. We need that money to patch the pot-holes in Elm Street."
Well, I understand that sentiment. I want the pot-holes patched in Ironbark Drive. I want free dental, not just fee medical. We Aussies would like a few more library books too, and I sure need a job. But hang on a minute here. These Moms and Pops who want $87 billion spent on projects in the world's richest hyper-nation, and here in Oz, are the same Moms and Pops and Mums and Dads I saw back in February squealing that all those towel-heads and sand-niggers had to be murdered "because of what they done to America on September 11". You couldn't reason with those people then, and you can't reason with them now.
We of the compassionate tendency of politics always like to blame Bush and those truly diabolical neo-cons like Rumsfeld, Perl, Rove and Wolfowitz, as well we might. We always point the finger at General Electric/NBC, Westinghouse, Fox, Rupert Murdoch, the military-industrial complex, but never, ever at ordinary citizens. However, let us never forget that those near-fascists of the Bush cabal have killed tens of thousands of people lately, not all by themselves, but with the enthusiastic, vociferous, jingoistic, self-righteous, racist and blood-chilling support of the majority of the American people. There. I've said it. It seems that no one else on the progressive side will.
I put my case thus: How dare
our American cousins abrogate their responsibility to clean up some of the mess they so wilfully and heartlessly caused our Iraqi and Afghan cousins? To the American people, whom I have always loved and defended through thick and thin, I say this: You
upfucked it, now you
go fix it. Restore electricity to the Moms and Pops of Iraq and Afghanistan. Send in food and medicines. Provide the same grief counsellors you send in when one of your corporations "downsizes" its staff. Airlift in textbooks, computers and advisers on sustainable agriculture and permaculture. Restore the water supply and transportation where you bombed the pipelines, bridges and roads. (I am assuming here that you did not believe the 6 o'clock news's deceitful representation of the two Gulf Wars as being clean, precise and victimless.)
Your troops, on orders, stood by and deliberately allowed hospitals to be looted – send not $87 billion to build new hospitals, send $870 billion. In your lust for the rivers of prosperity and comfort that flow from Middle Eastern petroleum, it was you who placed such unwarranted sanctions on Iraq that some 500,000 completely innocent Iraqi babies and kiddies died of malnutrition and disease between 1992 and 2003. It was America that blew up the public buildings and utilities of Iraq and beautiful Afghanistan, and it is the once-proud America (which is addicted to boasting to the other 190 countries of being the world's greatest nation) that must rebuild them. Let's put an end now to this distasteful clamour to keep American dollars at home.
Yesterday in the United Nations, President George W Bush, having previously done his utmost to destroy that necessary institution, came unctuously begging for the other nations of the world to come in and pay for the ruin that his country is still inflicting on Iraqi men, women and children. To use a New York idiom "De noive of dat guy!" Old Beady Eyes' smarmy oration
came shortly after an excellent speech
by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who sensibly pointed out that this awful US policy of "pre-emptive invasion" is a dangerous precedent that bodes ill for world peace. Hear! Hear!
Friends in America (and Britain and Australia): You turned these countries into rubble. Now you go and fix them up. And please, no more of these simpering emails telling me that we should be spending this money on building new locker rooms for college athletes and sandpits for our fat, whingeing children. At least, not while most of the world is near starving and getting mighty, mighty pissed off with our self-centred ways.
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[*Here's the email to which I referred above:]
NPP Bulletin - September 23, 2003
"The National Priorities Project has just released its latest Grassroots Factsheet: 'Invading and Occupying Iraq: The Impact on Your State'. Go to http://www.nationalpriorities.org/issues/military/iraq/factsheet03/index.html
to select your state. You will find a breakdown of how President Bush's requested $87 billion in additional war spending could be spent instead to create more jobs in your state for school construction, affordable housing units and better roads and bridges.
"The Factsheet also provides a graphic illustration of current federal spending priorities, comparing the total amount of war-related spending with spending on basic needs such as food and nutrition, the environment, housing, education, the environment, housing and veterans' benefits.
If you want to add your voice to the federal debate, go to http://www.nationalpriorities.org/takeaction/index.html
to find out how to contact your Congressperson."