Marc D. Goldfinger
I was watching the news last night and this morning and was amazed by all the teacher cuts all over the country. The talking heads were telling us that this is a new era and we’ll have to get used to doing with less. Also, just recently some Tea Party member was talking about the sucking sound of money disappearing into health care initiatives like Medicare, Medicaid and the new Health Care Bill.
What astounds me is that the sucking sound of money disappearing from our country is because of the ENDLESS WARS. Nobody is talking about the cost, both financially and physically, of Bush’s Iraqi debacle and the Afghanistan disaster.
Are we really spending billions of dollars chasing a gang of idiots called Al Qaeda all around the world? As our country’s infrastructure declines, as we strip our educational systems, as we blame the poor for taking too many food stamps and too much welfare, the war machine, a hungry beast out of control, is stealing the future of our country.
Just a quick example of our blundering war machine. Since 2002 our country has poured $6 billion dollars into developing a police force in Afghanistan so they can take over when we leave. It’s 2010 and barely one-quarter of the 98,000-member force has received any formal instruction. Fifteen percent of the recruits test positive for drugs and nearly 90% are illiterate. Approximately 170,000 Afghans have been trained but only 30,000 remain on the force—and their competence is questionable.
And this is 6 billion dollars later. How many teachers in the United States could be working for that kind of money?
I’m writing this column on Earth Day. Now this is a day that started, I believe, in 1970, to make people aware of our deteriorating environment. It still exists, but like many good things it has become perverted and is now a corporate holiday.
All the major corporations are screaming GREEN, have special departments to write text and tell all of us about what they are doing to maintain sustainability, whatever that is. Meanwhile in the boardrooms, other members of the same corporations are planning their next moves to persuade us to buy products, even though these products are part of what is destroying the world.
Why are the Dead Zones in the ocean increasing in size? Why are the icecaps melting and raising our water levels so that islands are being evacuated in order that their populations don’t drown. What has caused this past decade to be the hottest on record?
Did you know that, besides the Dead Zones—which are multiple in number and cover areas as large as some of our smallest states—we have giant Plastic Zones in the ocean where non-degradable garbage swirls around and around. These Plastic Zones are the Sargasso Sea for the creatures that try to live in the ocean.
Our world is mostly ocean but this land creature called humanity is changing the face of not only the oceans, but everything on this planet. Right now we are undergoing a mass extinction of species that has only taken place five other times in the history of our planet. One time was when a giant asteroid hit the world and created an almost endless winter in time measured by man.
We are causing this mass extinction. Countless species are being wiped out or are in danger of extinction. In some spots off Washington state and Oregon, hypoxic zones exist in the ocean. Hypoxia means an almost complete lack of oxygen. The carcasses of multiple species of crabs litter the ocean floor in these zones. Twenty-five year old sea stars wash onto the beaches and crippled colonies of sea anemones struggle to live. Mats of potentially poisonous bacteria thrive in hypoxic zones.
The weather is changing. New Orleans still hasn’t recovered from Hurricane Katrina. I’ll bet some of the money being sucked up by the war machine could help New Orleans. I’ll bet some of the money being sucked up by the war machine could help Haiti recover.
We, as a species, have lost our perspective. If only our psychological and emotional maturity could equal our technological maturity. If only.
War not only sucks up our oil, our gas, our people’s lives, but it also wreaks havoc on the environment in which it takes place. The companies that make the tools that we use to kill each other are not in financial trouble. They are making more money than ever.
Ironically, many of the weapons that we produce here in the United States wind up in the hands of people we are fighting. How does that make sense?
I can’t say it enough. If half of the total money that the war machines suck up went into cleaning our environment, hiring teachers, helping the poor get housing and food, we’d be doing a hell of a lot better than we are doing now.
Nobody is saying it. The price of the war machine should be trumpeted on our national news every night, the actual dollar amount should be stated and the money trail should be followed right to the door of every corporation that makes weapons that kill.
Why is it that we never have enough money for medical care but we always have enough money to blow people, places and things to unholy hell? Maybe if the money eaten by the war machine that eats us was used to combat global warming, we might have a better chance of surviving. Just think of every war apparatus that emits toxicity: those giant aircraft carriers, those creepy looking bombers that explode across the sky, shattering the ear drums of the people who are being blown to shreds. Noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution, earth pollution, mind pollution—just to name a few.
Let’s hire more teachers and kill less people. Let’s have health care for everyone using the billions of dollars we now use to destroy life. If we put the money from the war machine into better alternatives like schools, hospitals, the space program, we’d have enough teachers, everyone would have the best of health care like our politicians do, and we’d probably have reached the planet Mars along time ago.
God knows we have the resources. Now all we have to do is get resourceful and point the finger to the real problem—The War Machine. Wake up humanity or go to sleep forever!!
Marc D. Goldfinger is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.