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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/31/13

"17 Camels: Can a Sufi Tale Heal Our Broken World?"

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"Look" just hear me out. " "Nothing would ever get done if all possible objections had first to be overcome.'   Samuel Johnson said that!"

"Still listening," he telepathed.

"Okay. " I'm giving you paradigms here.   Just hear me out. " What's more bloated than the US military budget?   We spend half of all our money on our military--a zillion bucks--more than the next 50 countries put together--something like that--and what do we get?   We're creating more enemies all the time--meaning we need to spend even more on the military.   It's a vicious cycle."

Woof pawed the ground, signifying he understood, but would like me to put things together.

"So" we cut our military budget in half, and we bring home half of our armed forces!   That's a lot of people and a lot of equipment that we're not spending exorbitant fees overseas to support.   We're gonna save money just by having our troops at home!   Then, we're gonna employ our armed forces in repairing our infrastructure--which has been neglected for decades!   While we're repairing, we're training all these troops to for useful work.   We're gonna shore up our coasts, preparing for the next Hurricane Sandy.   We're gonna fix our roads and bridges, and we're gonna build a high speed rail system to rival the best in Japan or France or China!   We're gonna improve public transportation in all of our cities so our people don't have to waste time and energy in the daily commute--and we'll cut down on pollution as well.   We'll rebuild our communities!"

"But" won't the other countries take advantage of America's retreat from the world?" Woof wondered.

"That's right out of "The Godfather," number 1," I tell him.   "Remember when Robert Duvall tells the Godfather if their family doesn't get into illegal drug-dealing, the other families will, and with the extra money they're making they'll come after don Corleone's family?"

"That's right," says Woof, furrowing his forehead.   "It's a pretty sick rationale for how to run a country, isn't it?"

"Exactly!   But that's what we've been doing forever--us and all the other goddamn empires.   So" we're gonna show these other guys how it's in their best interests to help us change our stars and stripes.   We're gonna be straight with them.   If we cut half our forces, we will expect them to do the same!   We'll work it all out in treaties.   And we'll use our surveillance systems to make sure everyone follows the rules."

Woof wags his tail, getting a bit excited.   "You could sweeten the pot," he says.   "You could let those other countries invest in America's reconstruction!   They'll profit from reducing their own military forces, and they'll profit from America turning its spears into pruning hooks!"

"Thank you, Isaiah!"  


I pet Woof and give him a hug.   "How else might we apply this way of thinking?" he wonders.   Then, he barks excitedly.   "Social Security!" he exclaims.   "That 18th camel is in front of our wet noses!"

Now I'm confused.   "How do you mean?"

"Well" people giving something up" only to have it come back in a better way.   Like the wise man in the story.   He gives up his camel temporarily, but it comes back, and he's earned the good will of the rich man's sons."


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Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)
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