Thursday, March 09, 2006

Blindness From The Left And Right

The absence of clarity and vision from both ends of the political spectrum is characteristic of government today in the United States of America.

Our foreign policy is a national shame. Essentially it is an exercise in greed, self interest and ignorance of our obligation to seek the common good through attention to the environment, the preservation of natural resources, concern for international justice and the reduction of third world poverty.

How is this so? We, the wealthiest democracy in the history of the world, the most generous and giving nation in history, have degenerated into a self absorbed nuclear power insisting upon international dominance. Such dominance is not based on a superior commitment to higher levels of morality and ethics but sadly an interest in asserting greater power in preserving world wide economic advantage.

It is quite clear that since 2000 with the onset of the Bush Administration our military industrial complex seeks international dominance and control through the exercise of military power. All the rhetoric about the spread of democracy is just that; empty voices using flags and false patriotism, fear and intimidation to further vested self interest. The Bush Administration preaches international democracy, individual and women's rights while making foreign aid commitments to countries where human rights are trampled. (Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Israel as examples, Israel practicing a form of Apartheid against Palestinians)

The scope of this ignorance is impossible to articulate in a brief space. Our neglect of health care in this country is a national disgrace. Health care is a right, not a commodity you buy if you can afford it. Yet millions of Americans live day to day without proper care or are forced to wait sometimes days for care in crowded Medi-Cal clinics and doctors offices where assembly line tactics create humiliation and embarrassment to compound physical illness and the need for medication.

With 1% of what we are spending in one month in Iraq we could provide medicine to African nations where one in five children dies before age five of easily cured diseases such as dysentery or malaria. For even less we could provide disease free drinking water to nations where today people die prematurely as a consequence of using contaminated water. If we truly want to act in a morally responsible manner and create good will again throughout the world, assaults on disease and poverty will achieve that goal with much greater certainty than assaults with bombs and bullets. Isn't it clear that radical Muslim groups would have great difficulty recruiting for their forces if the United States were extending assistance to their wives and children through healthcare, clean water and other humanitarian efforts?

Where are thinking, feeling American legislators Republican or Democrat? I believe they are hunkered down in silence behind the powerful political groups who "purchased their offices."

In the Senate, or the House, we have no voices from either side of the aisle speaking out forcefully in opposition to war as the ultimate solution to terrorism. Our soldiers in some cases must rely on families to send them proper helmets and armored vests because this administration advanced to war poorly prepared. The costs in lives, dollars and loss of international respect rises daily and yet there is no effective movement to end the failing effort, and it is failing no matter what our corporate press and TV tell us. This is an extraordinarily fragile democracy taking shape held together only by the military presence of our troops at immense cost. Some of our military leaders have said we may have to remain in Iraq for ten years. It might be longer than that since we have constructed 14 permanent military installations to house our troops.

I believed that conservative meant conserving and exercising caution in expenditures. This administration seems convinced the American Treasury is bottomless. Current national debt distributed to America's families is approaching $5,000 per family just for its share of the costs of the Iraq War. Is this the way we truly want to spend our resources? Some friends of the administration with big no-bid reconstruction contracts are profiting greatly. The average guy in the street pays the bill and 159,000 of them go to sleep each night worrying about sons and daughters coming home from Iraq safely.

William J. Clarke
Lompoc Resident


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