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Our Military is Eating our Economy

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Recently, the media has been pushing the non-thought, Iraq has fallen off the radar—the “surge” is working, Mr. McCain would say we are winning (McCain prefers to use Manichean rhetoric, set up false dilemmas, like winning or losing, succeeding or failing, gray area and other possibilities be damned because the Mouth cannot think past two, past one or the other). I would like McCain to explain how one can “win” an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation? Other than winning translating to long term occupation and looting of oil revenues, I just cannot make the jump to win—though I can see how we are losing—international respect, our young people, our money (oops that would conjoin the economy and the invasion and consequent occupation of Iraq), and the deep wounds to our national conscience for mauling and murder of countless Iraqis.


So, when I hear the invasion of Iraq is on the “back burner,” that folks are thinking more about the economy, I think of McCain—thinking easy, no fuss, one thing or the other, no icky loose ends, no possible relation(s) connecting our empty coffers to full coffins. Maybe I am off base on this one, but I cannot understand how the US economy and the trainloads (I first wrote “ship” load, but it sounded too much like the word I was really thinking of) of cash headed from the US to Iraq can be seen, construed, presented, as separate issues.

 And then, kismet by God! The headline on the Huffington post today: Illinois Town Rejects War With Iran by 4-to-1 Margin. What were the folks in Illinois thinking? Is one to believe that the folks in Urbana (the town in Illinois) had the audacity to think about “war?” Here, in the middle of an election and with our economy swirling down the crapper, NPR tells me when it comes to political issues the “war” is a distant second—when push comes to shove, “it’s about the economy stupid?” Right? Well, not quite. According to Robert Naiman, a regular columnist for Huffington Post and National Coordinator of Just Foreign Policy writes that Urbana, a town in Illinois, the folks voted “4 to 1” against an attack on Iran[1] (Urbana-ites are known to be forward thinking). And that’s not all—there were two other referenda concerning “Bush Administration policies”: “The Urbana referendum against war with Iran passed with an even greater margin than two other referenda critical of Bush Administration policies: calling for the repeal of the Military Commissions Act and the restoration of habeas corpus (79% in favor) and to eliminate funding for the Iraq war (69% in favor).”[2]  That’s right! On Tumultuous Tuesday 2008, the folks in Urbana stepped into their birk’n socks, hopped into their Volvo station wagons, drove to the local polling place and cast their ballots for three issues explicitly concerning war, and the Bush Administration’s lack of ethical behavior and their failed foreign policies.  There is hope. Naiman abstracts the percent of Democrats who voted for the “no war with Iran” referendum and the percentage of folks in Illinois who voted Democratic, and by Naiman’s account “it is reasonable to suppose that if such a referendum had been held across Illinois, it would have passed with about 75% of the vote.”[3] The popular meria in the US has already affected the presidential election through blatant non-coverage, ignoring the campaigns of Dennis Kucinich and then John Edwards to the point that both of these very qualified candidates was forced to drop out of the race. And yet, somehow, the people of Illinois, as I expect many people across the US are not listening to the media when it comes to the relationship that binds no money for healthcare, no money for education, the recession crawling again out of its oily morass and licking at the edges of our great nation—and the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, as the hole where all the money goes. 

[1] February 6, 2008. <

[2] Ibid.

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[3] Ibid.

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Older, over-educated, happily married, father of three children and five grandchildren, and I was involved in, and/or am currently involved in, the movements to 1) end the invasion of Vietnam, now Iraq; 2) protect our free speach, revoke the Patriot (more...)

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