For a decade we've been at war sending our soldiers to various places to fight for various reasons. As Americans we have historically stuck by our leaders when they asked us to go to war. There were always Americans that had questions, but for the most part it's been that way when it came to war. But the longer the wars have dragged the more we questioned, Vietnam being a prime example. Questions too are to be expected in a free society like ours.
In so many nations, empires, kingdoms there was never choice. What the average person had to say meant nothing. People were told to trust in your king, leader etc for they know best. You can have questions, just keep them to yourself and trust blindly.
But in a modern Democracy we expect more. In a nation where we elect our leaders and are capable of holding them accountable to their deeds we expect more. In a nation where we have a say over our taxes and how they are spent we expect more.
We have faith in our leaders, but as President Reagan once said regarding the USSR, we essentially have a 'trust but verify' philosophy. We want them to be spending wisely – not that president Reagan was a great example of wise spending (as evidenced by him handing his former vice president a debt laden bill). As at home, it's expected our leaders will be cutting fat where possible and not spending on government projects any longer than necessary.
It's no different than at home and the way we view our own budgets. We don't expect to be spending money on anything longer than we feel we should be. We certainly don't expect to get billed for things beyond what would be considered requisite. If we find someone to have been billing us beyond the point we wanted their services or beyond the point we expected the term of their service to have terminated, we make sure we put an end to the discrepancy.
When we find someone has been overcharging us or charging us incorrectly we tend to deal with it quickly. As Americans, we feel no differently about government. When we are strapped at home we find ways to cut spending and increase revenue where possible.
Sometimes when we look again at expenditures at times like these we discover things we viewed as paramount aren't really so important after all. Perhaps when times were better they were necessary to our lifestyle. Perhaps when times were better we had the luxury to spend on certain items or services. Perhaps in better times we could even give more to charity.
There's nothing wrong with any of those things as we do with our money what we feel is fitting for ourselves according to our values and goals in life. Those things change and adjust with the times. Sometimes we have to cut back on things we really wanted to do, they weren't necessary, but they fell in line with our values or lifestyle.
Perhaps it means a bruised ego. Perhaps we cannot keep certain promises. But if it means not being able to pay bills it has to go. If it means we need to miss car payments for something that isn't a necessity it goes. If it means our kids have to go without, it goes without saying, we cut the fat. It's amazing what turns out to qualify as 'fat' – bad fat.
When it comes to government spending we all hate fat, but in more bountiful times for whatever reason the eye just gets taken off the ball. When things get tight we ask more questions and gravitate towards those that can fulfill the task of cutting and delivering on what we need in such times. When things get intense with our national economy on the brink of collapse and fluctuations occurring on a weekly basis, we expect people to make serious cuts in addition to finding new sources of revenue – just like we would in our own lives and households.
There are plenty of places to cut and among those are surely expenditures related to the two wars we currently are embroiled in. The war in Afghanistan is supposed to be over as we reached the targeted goal President Obama stated was his mission while campaigning in 2008. Yet the proposal is to stay there another two years. At this point that makes no sense.
The reason given is stabilization. But the nation has not been stabilized much beyond the way things were when we went in. As much as has been accomplished already amounts to the best we would be able to do in ten years and essentially another three years on top of that will give us nothing lasting for them or us.
In the end, three years is paying beyond the time the service is necessary, and in these dire times, the majority of Americans are on the hook for it. It's the same in Iraq. We are technically supposed to be pulling out in 2011 from Iraq. Yet our government, which is slated to be leaving by the end of 2011, has lined up Department Of Defense expenditures for Iraq at $17.7 billion for the fiscal year 2012. How is that possible if militarily we won't even be there? Lol. Afghanistan's price tag is set at $113.7 billion. (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBoQFjAA&url=http%3A...) Our economy is being hit left, right and center with fiscal IED's. What are we doing? What are the prudent steps financially? Seriously.
We are set to spend $121.4 billion next year alone on wars we don't need to be prosecuting. That does not include any expenditures in Libya if the mandate to provide air support until Gaddafi is gone is ignored which would be in keeping with the Bush/Cheney military tradition. Bin Laden and the new Al Qaeda number two were not taken out with hundreds of troops descending on a location. They were not even taken out by lumbering bombers dropping cluster bombs, daisy cutters or anything else. Just drones and special forces teams. Simple and easy.
It's what so many including Vice President Biden have been advocating for, and it was proven the best course. Donald Trump recently admitted what so many other wealthy conservatives have not let leak from their lips. He said Iraqi oil could “make us a fortune.” (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/133391/20110412/donald-trump-iraq-oil.ht...) He said regarding Libya “We should've said [to the rebels], we'll help you, but we want 50% of your oil.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-we-shouldve-taken-libyas-oil...)
Now when he said this there may have been many people saying “yeah you tell it Don.” They may have said to themselves, “yeah we should. Let's get it.” There is a big flaw in that logic. When these folks say “we,” who are they referring to? Oil companies doing business in the Middle East or North Africa aren't hiring Americans to staff their oil fields, they hire the cheapest labor they can get their hands on.
They pay hardly any taxes and refuse to cut back on their tax breaks or to forego any tax loopholes/ incentives. Despite our critically ill economy they laughed in our face when they were brought before Congress and asked to help. We aren't a socialist country where oil companies are owned by the government and the profits go into government coffers. That's as it should be.
This is America and we have a free market economy. But likewise we should not be required to pay for forces to protect their oil fields. There's no we in their profit margins. None. Those companies are not US property and our money should not be forced to go towards them becoming more wealthy and increasing their profit margins. It's not our job. They aren't “our” companies. An internal Pentagon memo described Afghanistan's newly discovered mineral riches as “ the Saudi Arabia of lithium.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/world/asia/14minerals.html) Guess we know what they want to spend the next three years “stabilizing” it for, instead of crime ridden American neighborhoods, disaster zones or heck just more jobs here at home.
How will our car payments be met with that Afghani lithium? How will our mortgage payments be made with Mobil getting their hands on Iraqi oil? If we stay in Libya as they are now saying we will, though at first they said it would just be to help the rebels, how will that oil help secure our streets, rebuild disaster zones or put food on our tables for our kids? It's a simple question. When Donald Trump talks about getting oil in Iraq and Libya on the taxpayer dime (our dime) that we have to pay for, as far as becoming wealthier – where is the “we” in that? Those companies had record figures this past year. Do you feel you've become wealthier along with them? How's our country doing? Who's “we?”
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.