Plain Talk

Plain Talk

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:02 pm
By: Nicolle Gallagher, Guest Columnist

Are we at war? Or are we helping fellow human beings survive?

The Egyptians just passed a referendum that allows presidents to serve only eight years but they also paved the way for nation-wide elections as early as September. 

Some analysts are worried by that; as there is not a lot of time to find candidates and mobilize voters; they fear many of the bureaucrats affiliated with the Mubarak regime will end up being freely elected. 

Revolution is still simmering under the surface throughout the Middle East. There is no certainty of profits for the giant oil conglomerates anymore.

But they do smell opportunity like no one else. 

Make no mistake. There are thousands of hours being spent analyzing all of the possible outcomes in Libya and throughout the Middle East.

I’m not talking about the military and diplomatic analysts though. I’m talking about the folks over on Wall Street. An army of statisticians are modeling the potential value of the oil and gas reserves in Libya. 

They are calculating what their potential profit would be if they had rights to it. They are calculating how much it would cost to convince the American people that a full-scale war is in our best interest. 

They are looking for a number – the dollar amount that makes full-scale war a good investment; an investment worth lobbying for. 

The fact that the Middle East is a predominantly Muslim region of the world makes this moment in time a perfect storm that must be navigated by “the moderate middle”. 

The disgusting and intolerable anti-Muslim rhetoric that we saw throughout last summer will inevitably heat up again. The Islamist extremist groups will be incensed by the presence of any foreign intervention, but especially American. 

And let’s not forget the politicians; the lowest of the low will exploit the anger for all that it’s worth in votes and campaign donations. 

The people in the middle will decide the future of America; it’s just a matter of whether or not we decide it passively or actively. 

We will be reminded that we still have double digit unemployment rates in many parts of the country. We’ll be reminded that we are a great industrial nation that needs to produce and design military equipment.

The “voice of reason” will remind us that WWII got us out of the Great Depression. If we fall for it we’ll just repeat the same mistakes that our grandparents made when they carved up the Middle East like a prize at the end of the last great war. 

Government spending to support World War II did contribute to the end of the Great Depression just like government spending on the highest quality education for every American would contribute to the end of this Great Recession. 

So would government spending on a high-speed rail network that is the envy of the world. So would government spending on health care research or renewable energy infrastructure. 

Just last year we were told that a new breed of politician was heading to DC and they were going to cut spending. 

No matter how many times the voters asked for specifics about what exactly they were going to cut. We didn’t get a straight answer until after they were elected and education funding isn’t really the answer Americans were expecting. 

It’s only a matter of time before politicians come out of the fringe and  openly advocate for full-scale war. Newt Gingrich is already leading the way. 

Military contractors will soon start passing around their hats seeking hand-outs in the form of government contracts. 

When they come, the moderate middle has to make demands, too.  

If government spending could transform our economy and lift us out of a decade-long depression in the 1930s why does that money have to be spent on war? I can think of quite a few better investments and I have faith that you can, too.

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wcp 3/22/11

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