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Dipping into the Whackoe-mole Sauce

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Many responses suggested the answer could be found in doing away completely, or scaling back dramatically the sums that are spent on military defense. From the first moment the proposition was aired, I was viscerally opposed to Iraq. And have not only remained so, I continue to hold every person who voted Republican in 2004, 2006, 2008, and who plan on so voting in 2010 personally responsible for every drop of blood spilled, for every life lost, and for every dollar needlessly shred in the enterprise. And I was dumbfounded and disappointed severely in Obama's decision to up the ante in Afghanistan by sending more troops, many of whom will have been on their third, fourth, and fifth combat tours, to that graveyard of empires. But they are there now, or soon will be, and nothing any of us can do will amend either that fact or the vast sums of dollars devoted to the fact. Nothing. Get over it.

And as to the military budget itself . . . We're going to spend something on defense, and whatever that sum is, it will be beyond any one person's comprehension. Nor is that a fact that is the least subject to change, regardless how any of us feels or regardless what any of us does. That as well is a fact. For now and into the foreseeable future all of us need to deal with it. Somehow. But wishing or pretending it were otherwise is, once again, an unrealistic, completely foolish waste of time. Contrary to Frank Sinatra's ditty, that ram ain't gonna knock down that dam, no matter his "high hopes."

Not you or me, but the House and Senate could raise the taxes on those making more than $250,000 to what they were prior to the Bush/GOP tax cuts that favored them. And that would help. But only. It would mitigate the looming Medicare catastrophe. It would not make it go away. That's because of the rate it is growing and the influx of the world's hugest demographic bubble into the system. Even that, because of Republican mule-minded, stubborn obstructionism in the Senate, faces an almost unsurmountable hurdle. (Example: Sen Jim DeMint of SC placed a hold on Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Safety Administration because DeMint thought the nominee might not block unionization of the agency; that while he was scorching the administration over the Christmas pants bomber. And right this minute, Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, has put a hold on more than 70 of Obama's department head nominees; holding out for an Alabama-based tanker contract and a counter-terrorism center.) Does anyone actually think Republicans will be less intransigent when it comes to raising the taxes on their base?

While not forever, but right now there are adequate food stores to eliminate world hunger. And right now, there are adequate financial resources to provide every American with both educational opportunity and health care. Were it up to me, I'd parcel things so that no child anywhere went to bed hungry or malnourished. (The mountainous quantity of food that finds its way to the dumpsters behind every restaurant in the US, and in every home garbage pail, or down every disposal, is itself a shame, a shame that those of us who contribute to that shame should flog ourselves, or be publicly flogged over.) Were it left to me, I'd deal with "extreme prejudice" the father in Turkey who buried his 16-year old daughter alive, because she was looking at boys. Were it left to me, I'd wipe from the face of the earth those in Somalia and the Sudan and Uganda who are responsible for the nine-plus years of the most brutal bloodshed that has left nearly 7,000,000 dead (Talk about Holocaust!), and the terrorizing raping of women. Were it to me . . .

But it's not to me. Or to you. There's only just so much any of us, or all of us, acting as the United States, can do. It does not mean we can or should surrender. It does mean, however, we've got to prioritize. It's tough. It's hard, very hard . . . making choices, from among as well as within the issues we can actually have a positive impact on. But what choice have we?

Responsible debate is needed, the operative word being "responsible."

I'm Ed Tubbs. I winter in Palm Springs, California, and I respond only to those with the decency and temerity to leave their real names.

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
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