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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Your $87 Billion Contribution Is Not Tax Deductible

Let’s get this straightened out right now. The $87 billion that Bush has requested to rebuild Iraq is an $87 billion Bush reelection campaign package to be paid for by the American people. Without this gift, the spiraling chaos in the war-ravaged Iraq will surely shanghai any chance he has of being reelected (I hesitate to use the term ‘reelected’ since he wasn’t elected the first time). The terribly bad idea of invading Iraq and its consequences are our collective responsibility and not that of his administration. With $87 billion to spread around I could bomb every orphanage on the planet and make it look like a good idea. That wouldn't make it a good idea.

Forget about the sweetheart deals Bush is passing out to all of his fraternity brothers, the true motivating factor for propping up Iraq is his short-term desire to win the next election. After next November Bush won’t give two shits about Iraq or Afghanistan. His pro business-at-any-cost agenda has been steamrolling through an intimidated congress since he took office. He needs a few more years to see it through to completion. There are still social programs he has yet to dismantle, child welfare safety nets he needs to dissolve.

For the first time since 9-11 Americans have finally put aside their fear and have started to question his foreign policy. A couple of G.I.s die each day, car bombs go off, no weapons have been uncovered, and Saddam is still on the loose. Bush tells us that all he needs to make Iraq look like it is on the road to stability (until his next election) is a paltry $87 billion. This was a guy who was elected by his promise of getting government off of our backs so we can all spend our family’s inherited wealth in peace like he does.

Not too long ago Amtrak asked for $500 million to continue operations on the eastern corridors and was highly criticized by the conservatives. The Right couldn’t understand how our national infrastructure couldn’t be made to make a profit. Now we are being asked for 174 times that amount to pay for infrastructure in a country 5,000 miles away sitting on some of the largest oil deposits on earth. I won’t even go into the irony of the ease with which we will abandon our energy-efficient mass transit options like trains to mire ourselves in a part of the world simply because of the fossil fuels found under their desert sands.

Does anyone really believe that even with an infusion of $87 billion Iraq will blossom into a flower of democracy in the Middle East? The Middle East has been blessed with unimaginable oil wealth for the last 40 years or so and I don’t see democracy even attempting to rear its timid head in the region. I do believe that with $87 billion to spend, America could be a flower of democracy and much more of an egalitarian nation than the present survival-of-the-fittest conservative model we are currently test driving.

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