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Bullets and bombs are bringing destruction to foreign lands and to America

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Headlined to H4 5/18/10

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Can bullets and bombs cause severe destruction in foreign lands and in America at the same time? Is that not impossible? It's not only possible, but it's happening right before our eyes. While bullets and bombs are raining destruction upon the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan they are also, in effect, bringing destruction to our states, cities and municipalities.

Let's take examine two options for which our taxpayer dollars might be used, one for destructive wars and one for constructive domestic purposes. First, let's put billions of dollars into the making of weapons of war that are then used by the U.S. and NATO for the war against those we refer to as insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a war that will soon enter its tenth year. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are being incinerated in the flames of this war.

While the wars rage on, here in America we are in the midst of a developing national catastrophe as many states are trying to cope with massive budget deficits; for example, California's deficit is forecast to be around $20 billion and that of Illinois around $13 billion. States must address and solve budget deficits since they don't have printing presses that can run 24/7 like the ones the federal government routinely uses. States main options are to raise taxes or cut back on services, and they are primarily resorting to the latter as teachers, firefighters, state employees, state social programs and infrastructure repairs are being scaled back.

To illustrate the magnitude of this misuse of our taxpayer dollars, let's see how the funding for wars has adversely affected states and their citizen-taxpayers. The National Priorities Project, a private research organization that focuses on the impact of federal spending at national, state and other levels, compiles data on the costs of war. Their data indicates that, since 2001 when the war in Afghanistan began, the apportioned cost to taxpayers in California has been $126 billion while in Illinois it has been $54 billion. This combined $180 billion in taxpayer dollars, in only two states, went to the Pentagon and none of it was allocated for positive, constructive domestic needs.

The war agenda being pursued by our government and our president is entirely counterproductive. We cannot, we must not continue to allow the remaining wealth of America to be pumped into these wars when it is so badly needed to create millions more jobs in new industries to develop and manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of alternative sources of energy. If this tremendous opportunity for innovation and growth is not seized, the economy will not recover, jobs will not be created and our states will continue hemorrhaging.

We, the taxpayers of America, are providing the funds for war. We have absolutely no say in the matter because the agenda for war is embedded in the Washington Establishment and it will not be deterred by the wishes of the people of America. President Obama can clearly see the damage being done as these billions are channeled in the wrong direction, and he knows full well what it is doing to people's lives over there and over here. And yet the entire scenario continues.

This is a no-win situation in which no one wins and everybody loses, that is, except the massive defense industry which provides the myriad of weapons of war. So, with this knowledge, what does the president do? He says, "Stay the course, full speed ahead." So, let's go along with our president, stay the course and see what it will bring to the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and America. Well, in the case of those two nations experiencing the latest "surge" strategies, they can look forward to a lot more bullets, bombs, missiles, deadly drones and just plain misery. The people of Afghanistan have endured wars by invaders for hundreds of years beginning with Alexander the Great. Wouldn't you think that they would be used to it by now?

As we stay the course and watch our dollars go up in flames what will a continuation of this war agenda bring to people in our states, cities and municipalities? Well, they won't be subject to destruction by bullets and bombs by an invading nation but many millions of Americans will also be living in a state of misery. The fact that our states are currently in such dire financial straits, while our economic crisis shows no signs of abating, portends a bleak future for our society.

But it's not just the future, it's right now. Many school districts across America are being forced to eliminate not just some, but all extracurricular activities because their state and local funding is being depleted. Who in America would not trade billions of war funds to keep these extremely important after school programs in effect? Well, I can guess who that might be and they are headquartered in WashingtonD.C.

We have arrived at a bizarre point in the history of our nation. It's a fact that the wars in which our nation has been involved, from World War II on, have always had positive benefits for our economy (not something to really be proud of) but this time we have a completely different situation; as our military is waging costly wars in foreign lands there has been no boost to the economy but, rather, an opposite effect as our trillion dollar per year Pentagon budget gobbles up all the funds that our nation needs for economic growth.

What does the future hold for our states, will they be able to escape total bankruptcy? If we project today's dire conditions, together with the fact that war is getting the lion's share of America's dwindling wealth, and our economy has largely lost its manufacturing base, the conclusion must be that states are in for financial ruin unless they receive massive bailouts. Massive state bailouts and massive funding of wars cannot be mutually sustained. If our government and our president refuse to back off this agenda of perpetual war, the states will not, cannot survive the financial devastation. At that point, our society will descend into a chaotic state.

This is exactly how empires collapse; they deteriorate from within. It's your choice, Mr. President and you better choose wisely for America is rapidly running out of time.

Michael Payne

 

Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 

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While the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan are caus... by michael payne on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 8:56:42 PM
at our expense. Oil lords get any war they want an... by Starla Immak on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 3:44:22 PM