Fridays Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South
Who Are You Going To Trust?
After moving to the South you quickly realize that most people you meet are transplants just like you are. I don't think it is the vast majority, but for sure. the majority of people I meet in Florida were not born or even raised here. That makes for many divergent ideas about politics, religion, and life. My father always said to stay away from religion when talking to people as either you or they will end up upset. He said the same about politics, but I still talk to people about theirs, and my dad was right many times about how the conversation ends.
Lately however, I have run into many, many people who agree on one thing, and that is that there really isn't anyone in national politics American citizens can trust. It doesn't matter if I am talking to a Democrat or a Republican, someone from the North or a "good ol' boy" from down in Wakulla County, or even a religious-right independent, who has backed the far right these last twenty years. Everyone feels betrayed.
A big part of the distrust comes from Bush's wars, but that is only part of it. There is also all the corporate money backing candidates, and there are all the charges dealing with homosexual acts by people claiming to be running on the religious right's family values platform.
Almost everyone can think of a congressman or senator who said he was going to do this or that, but when they got to Washington, they forgot all about it.
Here is a good example: in the last election the Democrats ran on the promise of bringing the troops home. They keep telling us that they tried, but the Republicans and George Bush won't let them pass any legislation. Well, the anti-war groups have told them that they have the purse strings, and if they had any guts, they would stop funding Bush's war. The last few weeks the Democrats have been saying the new bill they have authored will bring the troops home, or Bush won't get any money to continue his war. Well, guess what, they were lying.
Anne Flaherty, writing for the Associated Press on Friday reported, "The Democrats' flagship proposal on Iraq is aimed at bringing most troops home. Yet if enacted, the law would still allow for tens of thousands of US troops to stay deployed for years to come."
So, the Democrats claim they want to end the war, but they are willing to keep troops in Iraq for decades, just like our troops we left in Japan and Germany after World War II and those left in Korea after the Korean War. Those troops are still there 62 and 54 years later respectively. Big money in the defense industry wants to keep those troops in the field forever, and adding troops in Iraq indefinably will mean billions in profits for decades to come.
So, trusting the Democrats is out. How about the Republicans? Everyone in the Republican Party is running around telling us how well the war is going in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Just the other day I read that the Taliban now hold 56% of Afghanistan. I bet you, like many Americans thought we were mopping up the few bad guys left there huh? Well the Republicans lie, too.
How about this? CBS news reports, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that US commanders in Afghanistan have recommended an increase in U.S. force levels, in part to deal with an expected upsurge in Taliban violence this year." That is the Republicans handling of this war, but now hear this, too, "Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY, told CBS News' The Early Show Wednesday that while she is opposed to the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq, "I am for putting more troops in Afghanistan."
Here is one more that really lowers anybody's trust level. USA TODAY reports, "At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries according to military and veterans records compiled by USA Today."
Now we learn, six years into George Bush's War on Terrorism, that we can't even trust our own government with giving us the number of troops wounded. So we now know that over 50,000 Americans have been wounded, over 4,000 have been killed, and just last month we learned that about 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year.
How anyone can claim any sort of victory or even that we are winning is beyond me. Remember, both Afghanistan and Iraq were pitiful third world countries when we attacked them. Also remember, neither of those countries ever attacked us, nor did either have the ability to attack us!
So, who do you trust, or who can you trust? I don't think there is anyone any more.
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