Monday, December 24, 2012

The Conscience Of America

Shortly before Christmas, the U.S. Senate and House overwhelmingly approved a $633 billion military spending bill, as the unending torrent of money for the military and its contractors continued. There was no debate or public hearing over spending this vast sum as Democrats and Republicans united to pass it, and in the Senate, they passed it unanimously (98-0).

In the last 10 years, U.S. military spending has nearly doubled, as the U.S. devastated Iraq and for 11 years, has done so in Afghanistan, while fighting wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in what are now endless wars supposedly for peace and security.

And that doesn't even include the War on Drugs the U.S. is helping to fight in Latin America for that apparently is a separate funding

Congress appropriates this money and even more money during the fiscal year because the military industrial complex employs millions of Americans to produce a vast amount of weapons and delivery systems, providing for employment in nearly every Congressional District in the nation.

This spending places an enormous burden on the taxpayers, but for now, the taxpayers don't feel it because most of the money is being borrowed and at record low interest rates. But in all of history, interest rates have never stayed at record low rates and they won't in the years to come when the bill just to maintain all of this debt soars.

But in speaking of the conscience of America, there is a related issue issue, the mass killings in Newtown, CT, Aurora and Columbine, CO, Virginia Tech,, Tucson, AZ (which included the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords who survived her severe head wound) and other major shootings that have shocked America.

By now, you've noticed those shootings are endless and that in the tears that follow them, our nation has no answers and the media coverage moves on to other issues as everything continues as it was before. That is because America accepts violence. Everyday, guns in America kill people, although it is usually on a smaller scale.

Of course we Americans live in denial of all these killings as we defend our right to have practically every weapon imaginable..

But just as the U.S. military attacks an endless stream of enemies, so do some Americans take out their animosities violently on others. It's not just the loner gunmen, but gangs, people who've had too much to drink, the occasional disgruntled employee and others, all of whom have easy access to powerful military weapons.

Weapons so powerful, they even threaten the lives of police officers sworn to protect us. As for Newtown, unless there is widespread public outrage and action behind that outrage, like all of the other mass killings that preceded it, it will fade away, only to serve as a stepping stone to the next mass killing.

If we want to stop it, we can do as a top official of the National Rifle Association claimed to be the answer, arming "good guys" everywhere, however a "good guy" is defined, or said another a way distributing ever more guns in a nation already overrun with guns.

Or we can end the horrific example of the mass production of weaponry the U.S. uses to settle its issues violently abroad. For American massive military weapons no more belong on the streets of Baghdad or Kabul than they do on the streets of Tucson or Newtown. They are just as deadly overseas on men, women and children there as they are on men, women and children here.

But as long as we manufacture those weapons for overseas use, they will find their way home, as they do now.

Here is an additional solution: We can also begin a dialogue through our representative system to find a more peaceful way to resolve our issues overseas and to downsize, retrain and redeploy our military industrial complex into actions that could benefit all of mankind.

These actions could include resolving the many other complex problems that confront mankind such as global climate change or the need of 1/3 of the world to obtain an education as basic as reading and writing, and to have electricity, roadways and greater access to medical care and medicine.

By these actions, we would be acting in good conscience as we offer the world and ourselves a helping hand and a sharp reduction of the violence which we claim is necessary to protect ourselves.

Dick

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