O.K. - Now we can get back to business, and the business of the day is putting a stop to this madness called escalation. It isn't over yet; Congress still has to approve the President's request. Of course many in Congress are ready to shout "AYE!!!" when it comes to a vote, but we the people still have a say in the matter (even if we don't have huge funding behind us like the defense industry lobby), and I hope we will all shout "NAY!!!" at the top of our collective lungs. Let's push this to the top of Congress' agenda and pressure them to debate the issue and put it to a vote.
CLICK HERE to learn more and email your representative at Just Foreign Policy. And then ask your family, friends and people on the street to do the same.
Just one tiny comment on the President's speech. Here is what he said towards the end: "But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry. And it will allow us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last." As the underpinnings of the U.S. economy continue to unravel, prosperity becomes a pipe dream. Even as over 50% of our tax dollars are spent on the military, that does not come close to the actual costs, and we drive ourselves (and future generations) deeper into debt. One of the experts on Public Radio this morning was asked about funding the escalation, and as he spoke of how we will just have to find the money, he also said that we will "have to cut some luxuries." I didn't know there were any luxuries left. Perhaps he was referring to "luxuries" like education, health care, diplomacy and the environment.
We will NEVER "rebuild our [economic or moral] strength here at home" until the day that we spend more on true diplomacy and foreign assistance (as well as programs of social uplift here in the U.S.) than we spend on the military.
Readings for Perspective:
Afghans react to Obama troop plan, Aljazeera, December 2, 2009
Face down the militarists and get out of Afghanistan. No strings attached, Guardian.co.uk, November 17, 2009 (opinion piece from a British point of view)