Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I'm Sure I Don't Want to Know

This weekend marks the second anniversary of our attack on, and occupation of, Iraq. I'm sure I don't want to know how few Americans are even aware of this fact.

The House of Representatives votes tomorrow on whether to spend another $82 billion on the occupation. (As I've mentioned before, this $82 billion dollars is not included in the Bush Administration's record-busting deficit calculations.) According to True Majority, Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (USN ret.), who fought in three wars and commanded the North Atlantic Fleet, reminds us that the Vietnam War finally ended only when Congress refused to continue funding it. What we should all do is contact our Congresspeople and urge them not to hand over the funds until the Chicken Hawks in Washington at least have developed an exit strategy.

I'm sure I don't want to know how few Americans can even name who their Congresspeople are.

Personally, I think we should pass a liberal Amendment to the Constitution: It would state, "Remember Section 8, Clause 11, of the United States Constitution? Ditto, except we really mean it this time." Or words to that effect.

Section 8, Clause 11 says that Congress shall have the power to declare war. Not rogue Presidents and a handful of their unelected (or, in Cheney's case, self-appointed) advisors. Congress. It's Congress's authority, Congress's responsibility, and Congress should reclaim it. If they were to do so, then maybe we could hold them accountable for the war and the expenses thereof.

After all, $82 billion is kind of a lot of money. It would pay for about a third of the new transportation bill. It would pay for the complete overhaul of the nation's public school system for nearly three years. It would pay for National Public Radio and the National Endowment for the Arts until the sun experiences heat death and the solar system comes to an end.

In the years 1865-1900, "walking wounded" were a common feature on the American scene--Civil War veterans on crutches, with eye-patches, or one sleeve pinned to their jacket-fronts. I hope most Americans do know that there have been 1693 coalition casualties in Iraq and an absolute minimum of 15,000 innocent Iraqi non-combatant civilians killed, but I hope we also don't forget the 8,000 or so young Americans who have been permanently injured, and whose lives and futures have been shattered along with their bodies. Although the Pentagon and the Administration have striven mightily to keep them out of the news, they, too, have sacrificed enormously. As for how much of their rehabilitation and lost future productivity could be compensated for with $82 billion, I'm sure none of us want to know.

The Quotidian Meander

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