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War: our proudest export
By Vin Suprynowicz
It's a good thing the Social Security and military retirement programs are actuarially solvent; the armed forces don't need any more money for live-fire training; and Americans have seen their taxes fall till they can pay the remaining federal levies with pocket change (leaving them vast sums to invest in the modernization of private industry, not to mention pricey prescription medicines.)
Because if that weren't the case, one might wonder if our delegates to Washington had temporarily taken leave of their senses, as the House of Representatives last week voted to take $15 billion of our tax money, bundle it up into huge bales, and drop it on harmless peasants overseas.
Note I did not say they plan to take the $15 billion and simply drop it in the ocean. As a measure to curb inflation, counteracting the overuse of the currency printing presses in anticipation of that dead-on-arrival "Y2K crisis" a couple of years back, that might actually do some slight good.
Not so the current plans. No, Congress intends to send $676 million to (you're to read this with a straight face, now) "fight drugs and advance economic and political stability" in Colombia and its neighboring South American republics ... an enterprise which has proven about as effective to date as similar efforts in Southeast Asia 35 years ago.
Where most of this money actually goes, of course, is to prop up the oversized armies of repulsive military dictatorships intent on putting down local political insurgencies by burning farms and villages, in between shooting down and killing Michigan missionaries and their babies.
To keep pace with the arms race thus subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, the rebels need more money, which they get by growing and selling drugs (mostly to customers right back here in the U.S. of A.), increasing -- not decreasing -- both the volume of the drug trade and the ruthlessness of those who control it.
And that $676 million is actually $55 million less than the Bush administration wanted to spend on the CIA's latest military-advisor full-employment act.
Congress did at least resist shifting more of these funds to bolster the $100 million which will now be mailed to a select group of entrepreneurial sub-Saharan kleptocrats who have figured out that (no matter how many times they've defaulted on previous taxpayer-backed loans after diverting most of that "food and medical aid" into their personal bank accounts in Geneva and New York), the doors of the international vaults can be made to swing open one more time if they simply fudge up every traffic fatality as an "AIDS death," leading to much ululation at the reliably credulous U.N. about an "AIDS crisis" which is supposedly wiping out the human race on the continent of its birth.
(Has the population of a single African nation dropped as predicted? Which one? What reputable European or American accounting firm has actually gone in and audited these "AIDS death rates" on the ground? If the population of none of these nations actually drops in the next decade, do we get the money back? This is, after all, a part of the world where American retailers report you cannot even reliably mail a package and expect any valuable contents to reach their legal recipient.)
Then, as virtual afterthoughts, apparently desperate to shovel out surplus funds which have piled up hip-deep in the halls of the Capitol, our delegates tack on $768 million for the surly thugs now in charge of the former Soviet Union. (What is it they've done for us ... or for anyone else ... lately? I can't seem to recall. And heaven forfend we should use this loot to compensate the heirs and descendents of St. Petersburg property owners who had their stuff stolen in 1917, or to compensate the Hungarians for 1956, or the Czechs for 1968, or the brave Afghanis for that matter, simply mailing Mr. Putin a receipt for his $768 million.)
Oh, and $2 billion apiece in military aid to Egypt and Israel, apparently on the theory that already heightened tensions in that region aren't good for much if we can't get these two countries to go back to war at least every couple of decades, providing some live test results for our current weapons systems.
Your U.S. Congress, trying every day in every way to prop up waste, fraud, and tyranny around the globe.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter by sending $72 to Privacy Alert, 561 Keystone Ave., Suite 684, Reno, NV 89503 -- or dialing 775-348-8591. His book, "Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998," is available at 1-800-244-2224, or via web site www.thespiritof76.com/wacokillers.html.
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