2007-03-09 / Columnists

The Progressive

Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Truckloads Of Cash Sometimes I wonder about the attention span of my fellow citizens. Our media is full of stories of paternity cases, contested wills, love crazed astronauts, and lottery winners. Most Americans are opposed to the decider's surge of troops in Iraq. At the same time, our political leaders seem more interested in their political futures and reputations to take concrete action that will cease the escalation of military action.

Congressional hearings regarding the billions spent in attacking that sovereign nation and the corruption that has accompanied the coalition of the willing's occupation does not have the sex appeal needed for the American people. Corruption and the blood and billions spent should become a major topic of conversation in political forums, barbershops, and the tabloid press. Reports regarding trailer trucks filled with cash being sent to Iraq to give to the so-called governing leaders of Iraq, without any justification or control by congress, do not incite any inquiry or concern with the American public. All of us have mortgages or rent to pay, children to get off to school, parents who need medical care, and other mundane tasks such as laundry, shopping, and cleaning to do. At the same time, we all need to inform ourselves about the price we are paying for continuous escalation of the conflict in Iraq.

Today, I spent some time in a coffee shop. A customer came in with whom all the staff was familiar One of the serving staff asked about her son who is serving in Iraq. She stated he would be returning soon but was concerned about his mental status after he returns. She told me she is aware of other returning soldiers who are having adjustments problems after their term of service. I told her I was opposed to our nation's actions in Iraq but that I am proud her son was willing to serve and was concerned for his physical and mental well being. She told me she felt the war in Iraq was a mistake and was happy I was willing to express my opinion because she was insulted by the politicians who claim opposition to the war was an act of non support of our fighting men and women. Reporters from the Washington Post reported of the unsanitary conditions that veterans are subject to at Walter Reed Hospital. Support for our brave men and women who serve means we equip them properly, make sure the goal is worthy, and assist them when in need.

It is an act of concern for our soldiers and the people of Iraq to learn about the recent history of our involvement in the internal politics of that nation. Congressional authorization to invade Iraq was contingent on the United States going to the United Nations for approval and direction after the initial occupation of the nation according to some interpretations of the resolution. This has not occurred. Linkage of the former regime to Islamic terrorism was tenuous at best and was and is used to justify the invasion. After September 11, it might have been possible for most Americans to accept any military action against international Islamic terrorists. We were used by the present administration in Washington to achieve an overthrow of a dictator for geopolitical reasons. Oil, monetary gain, and behaving similar to Hessians for our allies (Saudi Arabia and Israel) in the region appear to be the reasons for our incursion.

History will record the reaction of our nation to the terrorist act of September 11. Will our reaction be considered appropriate? Is the Patriot Act justifiable? Did our leaders secure our borders? What was the real motivation of our leaders in attacking a sovereign nation? After six years have we conquered Al-Quaeda? Are Americans too willing to forego constitutional guaranteed liberties for a false sense of security? For the most part, the answer to these questions is negative.

This nation needs to understand that the terrorists can win if we squander our resources on unnecessary expenditure of blood and fortune. We must not lose our soul by the use of torture and denial of human rights. We cannot become a mercenary military state. Our military should never be used in order for the few to become extremely wealthy. Our nation must discuss the war and its effects on the social and economic life of the nation. America is a miracle. We are a nation that has welcomed people from all across our globe and for the most part have united as one people. Despite our tragic history of racism, economic exploitation in this country and overseas, and unnecessary use of military power we have been a bastion of democracy and a beacon of hope for many. President Bush has for the most part changed dramatically our reputation overseas.

Recently, the BBCAmerica cable channel had an action drama program that demonstrated the view most Europeans have of the USA. It was that the USA now disregards laws regarding privacy, wants to control the rest of the world, and where greed runs supreme and the use of violence is justified to achieve desirable ends. In summary we were the bad guys; the way we used to characterize the Nazis or the Russian Communists. Most experts acknowledge the necessity of strong relationship of the western nations and moderate Moslem nations to win the struggle with Moslem extremists. We need to return to the standard of a democratic nation of laws and a promoter of human rights.

As truckloads of cash are being sent to Iraq, many Americans have no medical insurance, senior citizens are concerned about their economic future, and our infrastructure is not being repaired. Water main breaks, delayed repairs on bridges and highways, mass transit in disarray, and the lack of national attention to our fellow citizens plight in New Orleans and the Gulf Region is the price we all pay for the escalation in Iraq. Many of our nation's schools are in need of repair. Water delivery systems and dams need repair and upgrading all over the nation. Our veterans need medical care. Imagine what those truckloads of cash could have been used for in our own country to secure our borders and ensure a higher standard of living for all Americans.

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