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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/19/16

Your Choice: Thirteen-Billion-Dollar Aircraft Carrier vs. Cure for Cancer

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Message Joseph Clifford
Do you want one of these or a cure for cancer?
Do you want one of these or a cure for cancer?
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What if we had a democracy?

The Pentagon is about ready to pay the bill for one, new, still unfinished aircraft carrier, which so far has cost 13 billion dollars, but is mired with cost overruns and dysfunctional systems, so the daily cost continues to increase. At the same time the US government has set aside a mere 4 billion for cancer research. One uncompleted 13-billion-dollar aircraft carrier vs. 4 billion for finding a cure for cancer. Do you want the aircraft carrier or the cure for cancer? This spending issue raises many questions: What does a warped spending priority say about our country? How many Americans have been killed by "terrorists" vs. how many Americans have died from cancer? What kind of a country puts war and aircraft carriers before a cure for cancer? What has your Congressional delegation said about this? What do readers say about this? One aircraft carrier vs. a cure for cancer; what would you choose?

All the presidential contenders cheer the power of the US military, while constantly calling for even more military spending. Many are phobic about Muslims, and Islamophobia is the cry of leading politicians, but no one mentions that we, the US, has dropped over 23,000 bombs on Muslim nations this year, and have invaded or bombed 14 Muslim nations, yet it is "we" who fear "them", and insist "they" want to harm "us". Fear always breeds loss of reasoning and obscures facts. We have killed over one million Muslims in Iraq. Last month Physicians for Social Responsibility released a study, indicating the death toll of Muslims in our war on terror may well be between 1.3 and 2 million deaths, and some studies indicate Muslim deaths by the US since 9/11 may be as high as 4 million. Yet in defiance of facts, some still fear monger and argue, "they" are trying to kill "us". This historical bloodletting by the US has only exacerbated the situation. According to former General Stanley McChrystal, "for every civilian you kill, you create 10 new fighters", yet we plod along doing the same thing over and over again, insuring a vicious cycle of endless war. We have a large segment of our population that has never experienced peace, and has been raised witnessing constant wars. War has become acceptable to many Americans.

When a nation turns itself into a military state and has a military empire of 900 bases around the world, and spends 610 billion on the military every year, something has to give. What gives? In your state it is bridges, roads, infrastructure, schools, aid to the needy, and health care, all of which have been cut due to the lack of available money, as all money goes to our top priority, the military. It has not occurred to citizens, that feeding a growing military monster is at the expense of failing infrastructure, failing schools, failing health care, failing everyone, except for the Lockheed Martins of the world, who sold $45 billion worth of weapons last year. Cancer would be wiped out if the National Cancer Institute were given just a fraction of the military budget, but that is not our national priority. War and the greatest military the world has ever seen, is our priority. Curing the sick and saving lives is not.

Because of a failed medical care system, the largest cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical bills, while all other civilized nations have national health care which is far less expensive than ours. Many citizens have consumed the Kool-Aid and naively think we have great health care, but all studies by the World Health Organization indicate we not only have the most expensive health care in the civilized world, but among the poorest in quality. We pay the most and get the worst, but the good news is we have the strongest military in the world, and our military spending almost surpasses what the entire world put together spends on military budgets.

What do readers think about such a misplaced priority? More importantly what do the leaders of your state think of the spending priority. Have state leaders complained of having no money for crumbling infrastructure because of excessive military spending? Your Congressional delegation presided over this mess and is responsible for funding this misplaced priority, but have you ever heard them explain why the military is more important than school, curing cancer, a good health care system? Have they ever tried to explain or justify their votes on warped spending priorities, where all is sacrificed for the sake of the military budget? Of course not; they never address anything of substance. Fluff is their game, but we allow them to smother us with fluff, while depriving us of infrastructure, health care, schools. Real leaders would be fighting to save us from the devastation of cancer. President Obama in his recent State of the Union address boasted of our great military power, and got the biggest round of applause of the night. Echoes of Sparta, the once great Greek military state, who valued war above all.

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Joe Clifford lives in Rhode Island and has written a regular column for an online newspaper and has contributed many articles to various RI newspapers. His articles deal almost exclusively with American Foreign policy but ventures into other (more...)

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