Over the last few days I’ve been reading a few stories in the Philadelphia Inquirer that clearly underscore the idea that we need a new government in this country. First allow me to list those stories.
1. In an editorial on the effects of the ten-year war against Iraq, I read that the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan cost about 2.3 million dollars per minute.
2. On the front page of the Inquirer there was a story that “Of the big cities, Philadelphia is the worst for people living in deep poverty.”
3. Then, there was a banner headline in the Inquirer reporting that 215,000 people had been stopped and frisked in Philadelphia in the year 2012. Half of these stop-and-frisks were unconstitutional.
4. Finally, the Inquirer celebrated on its front page that there will be 250 new jobs at an Air Force base in Horsham. The base will operate drone aircraft in foreign countries. The overwhelming majority of deaths attributed to the drone attacks were civilians.
The war against the Iraqi People
First we can say clearly and unequivocally that as horrendous as the regime of Saddam Hussein was in Iraq, the U.S. occupation has been much worse. Iraq used to have one of the best medical systems in the Middle East. Most Iraqis were able to make a living under the former regime.
Today, only the affluent can receive decent medical care by travelling to other nations. The infrastructure of Iraq has been destroyed. While obscene amounts of money have been spent on defense, today Iraqis live in constant fear for their lives. Today Iraq has the highest rate of capital punishment of any nation in the world. Yet, the United States government expects the Iraqi people to pay for rebuilding the nation that the United States government destroyed.
Today we can also say that about one-third of the women soldiers in the U.S. military have been raped. The numbers of men who have been raped in the military is even higher. Yet, the military rarely prosecutes the soldiers who were guilty of rape.
One of the poorest cities in the nation
At the same time as the government has been spending obscene amounts of money on the war against Iraq, Philadelphia has become one of the poorest cities in the nation. 12.9 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. 23 public schools are scheduled to be closed. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Delaware Valley do not have enough food to eat.
Yet, the city government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on sports stadiums, the convention center, and on interest payments on municipal loans. The city has the largest tax abatement plan in the nation, where the owners of the largest skyscrapers pay no taxes. The federal government has spent trillions of dollars on a so-called stimulus plan.
Stop and Frisk
Today anyone who lives in the United States has a better chance of going to prison than residents of any other nation in the world. In Philadelphia, as in other cities, politicians believe that these policies are not harmful enough to punish the people who live here. Today, the police are stopping and frisking anyone who they feel like humiliating.
There are supposed to be laws in this country and the police have been sued for violating the rights of citizens. They responded by agreeing to document all stop and frisks. The result was that now the police admit that half of the 215,000 stop and frisks in Philadelphia in 2012 were illegal.
The new job of murdering civilians with remote control
Before we consider the new jobs operating drone aircraft, we might consider the United States government’s record with respect to international relations. Towards the end of the Second World War the U.S. armed forces literally burned about 67 Japanese cities to the ground. At the end of this six-month firebombing campaign, the air force dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
During the wars against Korea and Vietnam the United States armed forces murdered literally millions of human beings. Those nations continue to experience the effects of those wars.
Aside from these horrendous acts, the U.S. government has supported some of the most ruthless dictatorships the world has known. These would include the regimes in Iraq, Iran, the Congo, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Philippines, and Israel.
When we look at this history, it should come as no surprise that prominent politicians applaud the fact that there will be new jobs that are specifically aimed at murdering civilians by remote control.
When we look at these stories, we need to understand that I haven’t offered any opinions, but merely reported on the facts as they are. In the Declaration of Independence it states:
“Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, envices a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”
This column alone demonstrates that the U.S. government is in no way interested in defending the security of people living in any part of the world. No, as it says in the Declaration of Independence, the only time we will have security is when we have a new government that supports the interests of workers and believes that human needs are more important than profits.