Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Valuing What Counts

Front page news today - the dire necessity for the U.S. Congress to approve a money bill that will provide emergency funding for "bullets and body armour". Implicit in that appeal is the need for patriotic Americans not to forget their brave soldiers fighting abroad. Without the 'bullets and body armour' they will be incapable of prosecuting a war their president charged them into launching.

The bullets required to offset the retaliatory offensives launched by those representing the forces they invaded to bring to unequivocal and utter defeat. The armour required to ensure that this numberless and many-sectarianed enemy - equally determined to defend its own - might not succeed in imperilling American lives. Well, this is, after all, a very complicated world we inhabit.

"I often hear that war critics oppose my decisions, but still support the troops. Well, I'll take them at their word. And this is a chance for them to show it, that they support the troops", challenged George W. Bush while warning lawmakers against delays at this time of urgent need. The sum of $196.4-billion is what is being sought.

Lest the message of $=American lives protected be lost on his detractors, President Bush surrounded himself at a White House ceremony with war veterans and family members of soldiers killed in battle. It wasn't reported whether he had draped an American flag across the left side of his chest. But that wholesale sum was required to cover military operations for 2008 in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The cost has crept up from earlier estimates by a piddling $45.9-billion. This current U.S. administration has mired the country in a double quagmire; of hoping against hope they will yet gain control of a rapidly disintegrating Iraq, of gritting their teeth in sustaining the high-impact-and-growing cost to the nation which has already committed to $560-billion on post-9-11 wars. The national debt is monumental.

Here's the rub: this same month the U.S. president found himself unable to support a bipartisan piece of legislation for the addition of $45-billion over a five-year period in support of a health insurance programme for underprivileged children. All those tens of millions of American families with no health insurance do have children, and those children do have pressing health needs.

The poorer the family situation, the less likely the children will have their health needs met through the availability of a nutritional diet, through regular doctor visits, through a healthy lifestyle including physical recreational and educational opportunities, and above all, affordable housing. All of which are requisites to ensure that children prosper into a sound personal future.

But Mr. Bush saw fit to oppose that particular bill for the betterment of his population because he felt it might provide coverage for too many children from the middle class. As though they too are often as not victims of their parents' inability to secure affordable private medical insurance. He saw the bill as having the unfortunate potential of encouraging Americans to drop usurious private insurance in the hopes of attaining government coverage.

"The bill provides for basic needs, like bullets and body armour", said this president.

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