The greatest myth perpetrated this election cycle is that the nasty, bitter Democratic presidential campaign will leave the party divided this fall. Sure, supporters of the losing candidate will be angry and disappointed and may sulk a bit, but any notion they will go for Sen. John McCain in November is Republican fantasyland.
When the Democrats leave Denver in August, their presidential nominee will have a double-digit lead and the battle over lapel pins and Bosnian snipers wont even be a blip on the voter radar honed in on Iraq, the economy and eight years of Republicans Gone Wild.
No matter how many times McCain says my friends, he will have few of them among general election voters when they give unbridled attention to his position on issues they care about.
Soaring gas prices, stagnant wages and the housing collapse have our economy in tatters, and McCain concedes this isnt his strong suit. Our failing economy is one of the casualties of the Iraq War that McCain continues to strongly support. At long last, the media are beginning to ask some hard questions about the cost of the war.
As has been pointed out numerous times, Iraq is the first major war that this country has fought by transferring the entire cost to future generations through government debt. President Bush never proposed raising taxes to pay for the war. Worse, in 2003 he substantially cut taxes, unprecedented in war time.
Expect more of the same from a McCain administration. McCain has endorsed tax cuts that would cost more than $300 billion a year, including reduction of the corporate income tax from 34% to 25%. And he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, another $110 billion.
A constant worry to families across America is our deteriorating health care system where rising costs leave nearly 50 million with no insurance coverage and millions more underinsured. The current system cherry-picks the healthy and tells those with chronic diseases to get lost.
McCain says he would give people with preexisting conditions an extra tax credit to help pay for insurance funded by savings in the Medicaid program. Where does McCain think the Medicaid savings will come from? Does he mean cutting benefits to poor people who depend on Medicaid for health care? Or from middle-class families who rely on Medicaid to pay for nursing home care?
Real issues like these keep people awake at night, and only the Democrats offer real solutions. I think Im really going to enjoy the fall campaign.
Victor Kamber via email
The folly of war
In honor of the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, it is time to review some history. Since the 1950s we have had a steady pattern of very bad foreign involvements around the world. The U.S. frequently assisted in the toppling of leaders (many democratically elected) in order to put our preferred choice of dictator in power. This happened in Nicaragua, Haiti, Peru, Iran, Angola, Cuba, Chile and Vietnam.
Ever wonder why the Iranians toppled the Shah of Iran and took American hostages? The Shah was our guy, we helped overthrow of an elected leader and installed the Shah, who was a brutal leader. His secret police (SAVAK) were well known for much torture and cruelty.
It is estimated that almost three million Southeast Asians died as a result of our involvement in Vietnam. Over 58,000 Americans gave their lives to allegedly stop the spread of communism. Somewhat ironic that today, the communist regimes of Vietnam and China have become our major trading partners, while it is illegal for Americans to travel or send food or medicine to communist Cuba.
The U.S. has turned its head to atrocity after atrocity. When the flow of blood ceased, we then agreed an atrocity occurred. We sat and did nothing during the blood-baths in Rwanda, East Timor, Darfu. We did little to ease problems in Lebanon and Palestine.
Why do we have 170 military bases around the world? Do we really need them in Japan and Germany anymore? Why must the USA be the worlds police force? We cannot afford this role.
Can someone please explain why we need over 10,000 nuclear warheads? We have the capability right now of destroying the planet many times over.
Lets get to the Iraq of 2003-2008. When we invaded, the population of Iraq was about 27 million people. Since 2003, over 4.5 million Iraqis have become refugees, half within Iraq. Most of the middle and professional classes have fled. Iraqi casualties are hard to determine, since the U.S. forbade such counts. Johns Hopkins conducted a study two years ago, in which they estimated that 655,000 Iraqi civilians died since the invasion of March 2003. Injuries are estimated to be between three-to-four million.
Almost one million Christians had lived peacefully in Iraq for over 2,000 years. Today, more than half of these Iraqi Christians are gone -- either killed or as refugees. Oil, electricity, clean water and food production is currently less today than before our invasion. Unemployment is over 50%.
The latest poll shows that 82% if Iraqis (the people we are allegedly protecting) want us to leave.
Over 4,000 US soldiers have died and over 30,000 have been injured. We have spent almost $600 billion to date with long term estimates going as high as $3 trillion of our tax dollars.
Iraq will go down in history as one of the most horrific acts ever by one people upon another. How many have suffered for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and their views of this noble and romantic effort? The U.S. war hawks running the invasion totally destroyed a people and a country whose history predates the dawn of civilization.
According to Alan Greenspan, the primary reason for this adventure was oil. Gas averaged $1.39 per gallon here on 1/20/01. Today oil is over $3 per gallon and heading towards $4. Yes, the Bush administration could say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
After the terrible lesson of Vietnam, why did we let this happen again?
America, its time to wake up to what weve done. Dont let us continue on this path of bully on the hill, the path that has renamed torture as enhanced interrogation. We are so much better than this. It is time to demand ACCOUNTABILITY as we recognize the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
Leonard Page & Karen Martin