In Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation, he pleaded with the American people to “avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.” He also acknowledged the existence and influence of a militaryindustrial complex on governmental policy noting that “we annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.” Eisenhower then advised that “only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Fast forward less than 50 years later and America, with the support of a majority of its citizens, has invaded an oil-rich country for no less than 27 different reasons, none valid. To date, at least 60,426 lives have been lost and over $400,000,000,000 has been spent, much of it now in the pockets of profiteering corporations such as Halliburton, Bechtel and Exxon. What I don’t understand is how we live in a country where school teachers are being forced to buy their students school supplies yet we can spend $400,000,000,000 on invading, destroying and unsuccessfully attempting to rebuild a country that is now a haven for terrorists, something which they find a reason to celebrate.
Four-hundred billion can put 31,259,768 Americans through their entire 4-year undergrad degree, including room and board, at a public university. That’s even with the 28.4% increase in the cost of attending college since 2002, a figure primarily caused by reduced government funding. That’s nearly TWICE the number of all students, including Internationals, that were enrolled at American unviersities in the year 2000. If we’re talking strictly tuition and fees, the number of Americans that could potentially go to college for free jumps to 68,540,095. We can now only imagine the prosperity and access to education that money could have given us.
As for the loss of American soldiers, the Marine Corps Times put up a map of the hometowns of each of the 3018 American soldiers who have died in Iraq to date.
The southern-most red dot that you see in Southwest Louisiana is my hometown of Kaplan. Kaplan lost Toby Mallet, a friendly Cajun who died on April 9th, 2004 when he was just 26 years old. My homestate of Louisiana has lost an average of more than 1.5 people per 100,000.
In expressing my frustration to a high school friend, she said “Well, there’s nothing we can do now, can we?” I think that what we can do is educate others in an effort to prevent the type of warmongering that was seen and heard so frequently in America circa early-2003. While most of the content on this blog is technical, I feel it’s still a platform to help me do just that. Our government reps, including mine, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, must be made aware that their intial support of the Iraq War will not be forgotten. Please contact your Representative and your Senators to let them know how you feel the 400 billion could have been better spent.