Vote for a change
As the nation prepares to vote tomorrow, Nov. 7, voters should consider the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and to do their part to ensure a change in direction.
Such a change would press for an end to a federal tax policy that favors the wealthiest individuals over the middle class, more favorable environmental policies that require industry to limit further harm to the environment, federal regulations that prevent media consolidation in the hands of a few mega-corporations, deficit reduction measures so our children and grandchildren arenâ€™t paying for todayâ€™s excess spending, a health care system that delivers appropriate care to American citizens, and an educational funding system that is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of todayâ€™s global economy. For the past six years under President George W. Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress the nation has witnessed a steady deterioration on each of those fronts.
Nor are Americans safer today than we were six years ago when Bush took power in an election decided by the Supreme Court. That Bush has ruled with an iron fist, deprived Americans of their liberties under the guise of protecting us from terrorists, besmirched Americaâ€™s international reputation and moral standing because of his insistence on being able to torture prisoners of war and denying them the right to confront their accusers are all acts of outrage against the freedoms and sense of human dignity that Americans have long shared and championed for much of the past century. It has been shocking that so many Americans â€” and so many more Republicans â€” havenâ€™t stood up to challenge such dictatorial behavior, but rather have embraced such outrage with open arms.
Vermonters can do their part in opposing Bushâ€™s policies by electing Democrat Peter Welch to Vermontâ€™s lone seat in the U.S. House and Bernie Sanders to the U.S. Senate.
Angelo S. Lynn
Bringing war costs home
For Vermonters concerned about the direction the War in Iraq is heading, here are some statistics about the war brought a bit closer to home.
In September of this year, Congress approved another $70 billion to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (most of it for Iraq). Another $60 billion will soon be added onto the $319 billion already spent or allocated for the fighting, bringing the total to almost $380 billion through next March. More will be appropriated at that time to continue our presence there.
The cost to taxpayers in Vermont has been broken down to about $549.6 million, or about $34.3 million for Addison County, $6.8 million for Middlebury residents, and $1.4 million for residents of the town of Addison. (Other towns can find their costs by going to www.nationalpriorities.org/warcitycost.)
As the war has already drug on for four years â€” longer now than Americaâ€™s involvement in WWII â€” the initial projection by the Bush administration that it would only cost $50 billion is now off by a factor of 800 percent. (They lied about that too.)
Of the 2,709 American soldiers who have been killed in the wars, 18 are from Vermont. Of the 20,500 American soldiers that have been wounded, 83 are from Vermont. Health care costs and disability benefits for the wounded soldiers may also exceed $100 billion, and because the war is being funding by deficit spending, interest payments over time are expected to amount to another $100 billion or more.
Without that additional $200 billion of future costs added, the per capita cost of the war so far is $3,375 for every American household, or about $2,848 per taxpayer (based on a cost of only $378 billion for the war.) And, for those of you who are bean counters, the war is costing Americans $11 million per hour and $255 million per day.
More importantly, the Iraq War has fueled a battle against America by Islamic terrorists around the world, making us a more hated target that ever before among the most fanatic of terrorists and, increasingly, among everyday citizens of the Middle East. Tens of thousands (or perhaps hundreds of thousands) of Iraqi citizens have died in the fighting since the U.S. invasion. In short, the Bush policy of invading Iraq by almost all measures â€” the exception is that it has benefited Halliburton and other American businesses that have profited from the war â€” has been and is an abject failure.
In a recent testimony to Congress, former Lt. General Odom was quoted as saying the U.S. invasion of Iraq â€œis turning out to be the greatest strategic mistake in American history.â€?
Why would anyone vote to keep this leadership in power?
Angelo S. Lynn