By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Your business also shouldn't pay through the nose for services you don't need. Our military budget—already bloated to a ridiculous multiple of all our perceived and potential enemies' combined—is a record $355 billion next year, not counting another $38 billion for "homeland security" and the unaccounted-for money flowing to our intelligence agencies. Under Bush's "national security" plan, military spending now has no congressional oversight. All our previous hundreds of billions spent did nothing to prevent Sept. 11, and after a year of war in Afghanistan, CIA director George Tenant tells us we're no safer from attack today.
Would your business last long if it made decisions based solely on information that it wanted to hear? That is what the Bush administration consistently does on the environment, the economy, our security and other vital issues.
Even analysts at the CIA—no liberal bastion—have complained the Bush administration pressures them to provide only intelligence that supports the White House position on Iraq. Similar selective listening occurred with the White House energy task force and Bush's Waco economic summit, both stocked with corporate buddies who either agreed with Bush or were actually dictating his positions to him. While Enron was on the inside shaping national energy policy, senators in California—where Enron had created an energy crisis—couldn't even get their calls returned by the White House.
Republicans love conducting government in secret—remember Iran-contra, where the White House secretly traded weapons to an avowed enemy in order to fund a secret war against a nation that wasn't our enemy, while lying to Congress and the American public about it? Republicans suck on foreign policy, alienating much of the civilized world by rejecting arms treaties, a global-warming accord, a war-crimes court and such. Meanwhile they coddle up to repressive dictators. The hawks rightfully calling Saddam Hussein a madman for using poison gas on his own people omit to mention that he did so with the full knowledge and backing of the Reagan administration. One after another of our cynical alliances done in the name of national security has come back to haunt us.
What would it take for you Republicans to feel safe? We have the biggest military, the most expensive intelligence, the biggest prison system and more Republican-spawned laws than ever to lock people away; your corporate buddies have the globe's money and resources tied up; Republicans control the executive and judicial branches of government and—following Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone's death in a plane crash last week—the legislative branch, too; despite what you say, you own the media; the most numerous and loudest voices on the airwaves are conservative; you have the religious right delivering up the faithful; your rich supporters grow richer all the time; you've got unions on the run; you've got the Democrats cowed; you've got Arnold Schwarzenegger, for chrissakes—and still you bitch and moan incessantly about how beset you are on all sides by liberals and lesbians.
C'mon, guys, let it go. There is no security. Climb into the light and take a chance on the future, the future we're capable of, the future where America is again a beacon of hope to the world, where we can all make money without despoiling the planet or oppressing poor folks, where government acts like it actually is by, for and of the people. Then Bill O'Reilly would really have something to bitch about.