Thursday, September 01, 2005

What God giveth, God can taketh away

Update: I left out how Bush has cut funding for the Veterans Administration and has cut veterans benefits since he came into office, while we're starting to see the first homeless Iraq vets on the streets. There's just so much he's done that one can't even begin to list everything they've done which is dragging us down.

A man who claims to be doing God's work and who claims to talk to Him personally is being brought down by his Creator.

This is the worst disaster we've ever seen as a country. We knew, however, that this was a danger, and Americans all over are asking why the levees in New Orleans failed and why our President didn't mobilize our forces quickly or rush to the scene immediately. European countries, including the Netherlands which faces the same problems as New Orleans, don't understand this either, because a disaster of these proportions is not something you'd expect to see in a very wealthy, powerful nation which has known of the danger for a long time. Meanwhile over $70,000,000 has been donated to the Red Cross by Americans, $100,000,000 donated by businesses. The American people are doing there part, but where's our president? Why are we facing such a horrible disaster we've forseen?

Take a look at these editorials:
New York Times: "Waiting for a Leader"
Washington Post: "A Dearth of Answers"
Manchester Union Leader (a conservative paper, folks): "Bush and Katrina"

We also have to ask oursleves about where we've placed our priorities. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq. Most of our armed forces, including our National Guard who are supposed to be on-hand for situations like this, are tied up in Iraq as well, let alone those who have been killed over there. Getting involved in Iraq has weakened our country. Iraq and the all-important tax cuts were directly blamed by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Bush Administration's cuts in funding for New Orleans' levy reinforcement and for the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Project Impact which was supposed to help us prepare for such a hurricane hit. And what have we gotten in return for stretching ourselves so thin? World opinion has turned against us, and some people have turned so far as to be susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations. Iraq is unstable, and it's turning into an Islamic republic and an incubator of hatred for America. We've killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of Americans. Many thousands of lives both here and there have been scarred forever, and many communities are badly wounded as well. We've employed contractors in Iraqi prisons who've been getting away with raping and murdering and torturing the captives. No weapons of mass destruction were secured, and it sounds like we didn't make a big attempt to secure those UN-sealed facilities which were in Iraq or the nuclear scientists there, possibly making it easier for other countries to get WMDs. Iran and North Korea have become more determined on the Nuclear front just because they want a deterent against US invasion. Saudi Arabia is still considered one of our biggest allies. Afghanistan is still not entirely stablized and we still haven't caught Osama bin Laden and the Taliban is still in the country in force.

We've had so many problems here we should be spending our resources on, and it's so apparent that there wasn't any urgent need to attack Iraq; how can anyone now think that Iraq was a good idea? At least with Saddam in power the Mideast was more stable, and we were succeeding in keeping him in check, yet Bush took us to war, wouldn't tell us how much it would cost while cutting taxes massively, he wouldn't say how long we'd be there, told us Iraq's oil would pay for the war, told us Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, told us Saddam was a wildcard who had secret WMDs and was in cahouts with terrorists (as if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan weren't), told us that it didn't matter that we weren't able to catch Osama, told us that Afghanistan was doing just great, told us war was the last resort against Iraq, opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commision until it became politically expedient, puts political friends in positions of power regardless of whether they're actually qualified for the job, and has been consistently doing things to the benefit of large corporations without regard to what is actually good for our country and the people. Something's fundamentally wrong with this administration, and it needs to go.

Of course, none of this mentions peak oil. Peak oil is the point at which no matter how many oil wells we drill, no matter how fast we pump oil out of the ground, the amount of barrels filled per day will not increase, and will begin to decrease. Almost everyone agrees that it will occur within 50 years. Some experts think we may have already reached it, but most predictions put it within 15 years. Think about how high gas prices have gotten already. Then look at how a disaster has affected that price. Now imagine that supply starts decreasing while demand keeps increasing. Unless we make a major initiative to break free of the grasp of oil and to start using renewable sources of energy and to push fuel efficiency as far as we can until we can find some non-oil method for fueling cars, we may not be able to survive the peak. Such a change in the economy has the potential to be catastrophic, especially for those below the current poverty line. I think we can, and we will survive it. But we have to make the necessary changes now, before it becomes a problem.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, thank you for taking the time to read and respond with thoughtful points. I'm also e-mailing this to you in case you don't remember to check back.

    I understand where you're coming from, but I'm not sure that there's a sound basis for it. Let's look at each of your points.

    1) "Invading Iraq was a precaution against the growth and creation of new terrorist organiztions."

    There is no hard evidence that Saddam was supporting terrorism; at least, not against the U.S. (He had paid money to families of suicide bombers in Israel.) There was a terrorist cell in northern Iraq; however, Saddam hadn't in control of that region since the No-Fly zones had been established. By all accounts, Iran, Pakistan, and Syria were all much bigger supporters of terrorist organizations than Iraq, no the least of which is because Saddam was a secularist and one of Al Qaeda's goals was to remove Saddam from power. By contrast, our invasion has given people in the Middle East more reason to want to attack us; or at least, gives the terrorist organizations more recruiting leverage.

    2) "Precaution against new Iraqi dictators"

    Well, yes, I suppose that's true. But an Islamic republic (e.g. Iran) isn't necessarily much better. Are you arguing that we shouldn't pull out now? The point in my post was more about the very beginning of the war, and that it wasn't necessary to go in the first place

    3) "Precaution against the fear that causes someone to cry wolf resulting in over 800 dead."

    Well, yes, but that fear wasn't there before we invaded and created the opportunity for terrorism to develop. At least under Saddam people there kinda knew how to avoid getting killed; now they could be killed at anytime, almost anywhere.

    4) "the relative distance from our backyard to one disaster or another should never set the precedence of importance"

    I agree with you there, almost completely. A government has responsibility first and foremost to the welfare of its citizens, and that includes military action abroad if there's a credible, developing threat. But by most indications Iraq wasn't a big threat to our citizenry. Perhaps the ideal of creating a democracy in the Middle East is nobel, but a lot of people thought it was impractical and improbable that it could succeed. Realize that I'm not saying that we should never have dealt with Saddam; I'm saying that it wasn't the right time or with the right idea. We should have dedicated our resources into Afghanistan, to make sure their society stabilized and thrived, and that the Taliban was entirely taken out and brought to justice. In addition, there hadn't been any evidence of recent atrocities that might have made it more imminently important. In terms of disasters, wouldn't the genocide which was beginning in Sudan at the time have ranked far higher than Iraq? However, we've created the disaster in Iraq, make no mistake, and it is almost wholy due to the bad planning and decision making in the Bush administration.

    Again, thanks for commenting. I really appreciate people who can respond to things they disagree with civilly. I'd be happy engage you further if you'd like to respond.