Alright, here we go again

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Let’s concentrate efforts here at home for a change

By John Pawlak

The news report spilled out like a cow chip throwing contest in my living room.  
“A coalition of American and European forces launched a military campaign Saturday to drive Moammar Gadhafi from power, bombing Libyan targets by air and sea in the first phase of the largest international military effort since the Iraq war.”
Coalition.  These days, that’s just another word for “Fight Club of the Week.”  
How many countries can you get together and have them all act like idiots at the same time?   Just to make sure, I looked it up to double check the meaning.  “A group of male lions that drives off and replaces other male lions in order to mate with the females and protect the resulting offspring.”
Well, that’s close, but it must be the other definition.  “An alliance or joining of forces to address a common goal.”  Yeah, like Bush’s alliance with Albania, Mongolia, Slovakia, and the rest of the cast of Monty Python’s Holy Grail.
And so here we go again.  America, traffic cop of the world, ready to spend money it doesn’t have to get involved in yet another military conflict (oops, I mean “pre-emptive oil management stability engagement”).  And, oooh, so convenient!  Why, Libya is just a million dollar missile’s throw away east of Egypt.
Throwing missiles equates to throwing money. How about a little domestic throwing? Despite roads and bridges in disrepair, school budgets slashed, homeless veterans, tens of millions of Americans without health care coverage, social assistance programs curtailed, record unemployment rates, rising food prices, rising construction prices ­— our government once again finds it more prudent to invest in another military sinkhole.
So how much this time?  Ten billion dollars?  A hundred billion?  Only if we’re lucky. Over the past 20 years, our military expenses have exceeded $17 trillion (adjusted for inflation and including defense, homeland security, and defense related expenses in other budgets).  
This doesn’t include the estimated $3 trillion “appropriations” and long-term costs incurred from the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles.
But hey! Why so glum?  We’ve packaged it with a nice cute name — Operation “Odyssey Dawn.”
It’s even more frustrating to think that some military macaroon got paid to come up with that name.
Look, I don’t like Gadhafi any more than you do.  He’s a horse’s patoot and no one would ever accuse that draconian dictatorial dung of showing any decency, or even knowing how to spell it.
What irritates me is seeing million-dollar missiles tossed around like so many cake crumbs while problems in our own country go unchecked. Classrooms overcrowded and teachers underpaid. Oil companies turning record profits while enjoying enormous tax breaks.  Fifteen million children living under the poverty level as corporate executives take home hundred million dollar bonuses.  
Oh yeah, getting into another war would be just the thing we need.
Does anyone remember why the USSR fell apart? Too much spending on military and not enough on infrastructure.  
Golly gee, Batman, sound familiar?  
In a world gone mad, it’s a seller’s bonanza for Weapons of Marketed Destruction.  
Worldwide military expenditures exceed $2 trillion each year, and the United States proudly boasts number one on the charts.  We spend between 40-50 percent of the entire world’s military budget.
So what’s another billion or 10 billion in the scheme of things, right?  
Forget those homeless vets and hungry children for now.  
We’ve got a war to fight!  Praise democracy and pass the ammunition!
Or maybe, just maybe, we could stop trying to police the world and let people fix their own problems?
Maybe we could spend a few bucks to address some of the “little” problems over here? Teenage pregnancy? Substance abuse? Poverty? Pollution? Oil dependency? Domestic violence? Unemployment? Credit card debt? Teenage suicide? Gun violence? Home foreclosures? Inadequate health care?
A couple hundred missiles have already been tossed into Libya.  
How about tossing a few dozen missiles less over there and instead tossing a lunch to 70,000 school kids for an entire school year?
Or would that be too un-American?
John Pawlak
Los Alamos Columnist