Views on politics and current events

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A New Year Letter To Congress

I await the New Year and the meeting of the new congress with great interest. Now that the playing field has been leveled somewhat, with Democrats having a slight majority, expectations from myself and the country in general are high.

In my opinion, the number one priority is Iraq. In addition to the horrendous loss of life and destruction, there has been billions and billions of dollars spent on Iraq. The recent documentary ‘Iraq For Sale’ shows where much of that money has gone. So many actions done in Iraq are not done by our military, but ‘defense contractors’. For reasons I will never understand, the outsourcing of traditionally military obligations to defense contractors are looked upon as being more efficient and less costly. The monies spent in Iraq show the fallacy of that belief.

With contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater, to name but a few, the U.S. Government is in essence supporting mercenary forces. Not forces under direct control of civilian authority as our military, but forces that are controlled solely by business executives whose primary concern is profit. Profit motive, when applied to armed conflict does not serve the best interest of our country. Blackwater alone has seen an increase in profit of 600% from 2002. Indeed, approximately 30 miles from where I live in Mt. Carroll there is being built Blackwater North. A facility that, despite what Blackwater’s website says, is a private army military training base.

I urge the new congress to re-open the investigations of war profiteering. With so much money being squandered in Iraq, there is no way that anything can be done regarding affordable health care for all, assured funding of Social Security, education, and the other issues that need addressing. The war in Iraq and the subsequent occupation is bleeding this nation white. The revelation that defense contractors are making huge profits at the cost of human life and the welfare of citizens is absolutely criminal.

I agree with Gov. Howard Dean when he says that the recent election results are not a mandate, but a temporary giving of power. Rest assured, if the new congress does not perform any better than the preceding one, that loan of power will indeed be temporary, and short.

The issues that need addressing are varied and wide. With so many years of neo-conservative control, I fear it will take some time to correct the damage that has been done. But in the two years before another major national election, the Democrats need to show that they not only recognize what needs to be done, but put forth legislation to actually address those issues. If this is not done, it will not bode well for the Democratic Party. But more importantly, it will not bode well for the nation.

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