According to the most reliable counts, the United States’ invasion and occupation of Iraq has killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians, 650,000 Iraqi civilians or more than 1 million Iraqi civilians. In other words, we’ve vaporized the equivalent of Billings, Mont. (pop. 104,170), Memphis, Tenn. (pop. 646,889) or San Jose, Calif. (pop. 945,942). Horrifying as these statistics are, imagine how much more disgusted you would be if a foreign power actually did vaporize those cities, and then followed up that annihilation by having its leading politicians and pundits demand that Americans pay reparations for the privilege of experiencing such devastation.
It would be difficult to understate the degree to which today’s GOP wants to gut the social safety net. I can’t recall a time in my life when Republicans were more hell-bent on disenfranchising and abandoning those (poor, middle, class, unemployed, minorities, elderly, ill, etc.) not like them- White, Conservative, Christian, and wealthy. The Prime Directive of today’s GOP seems to be protecting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Mean-spirited, lacking in compassion, and devoid of anything resembling humanity, Republicans in Congress are working to create a world in which the rich get richer, and those not fortunate enough to be rich are allowed to exist only insofar as they can serve the interests of the oligarchy.
Alan Grayson may have been a lightning rod during his time in Congress, but he was spot on about how thoroughly and completely Republicans hate Americans. The GOP health plan?
- Don’t get sick
- If you do get sick, die quickly.
How thoroughly off the rails is today’s GOP? Well, consider yesterday’s vote on the proposed balanced budget amendment.
Analysts had warned that instituting the proposed balanced-budget requirements would likely force cuts of greater that 17 percent within seven years of the amendment’s ratification. Such cuts could mean slashing Social Security by $1.2 trillion and Medicare by $750 billion by 2022, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Thankfully, the bill didn’t get the required 2/3 majority in the House (not that it would have passed in the Senate). What was noteworthy was who didn’t vote for the amendment and why. The most notable Republican to vote against the amendment was Paul Ryan, who voted no BECAUSE THE REQUIRED BUDGET CUTS WEREN’T DRACONIAN ENOUGH for his tastes.
There appears to be a growing majority among the GOP who would set the poor, the elderly, and the sick and infirm adrift on an ice floe, armed with little more than a box of Captain America comic books. I can understand an honest disagreement over the size and scope of the social safety net…but when an across-the-board 17% cut in the federal budget doesn’t go far enough, and when many Republicans want to completely dismantle the social safety net…. Well, it’s hard not to describe those folks without using words like “evil”, “cruel”, “heartless”, “compassion-deprived”, and…well, you get the point. It’s as if the GOP has become the domain of tin men…because they have no heart.
I don’t know about you, but the concept of the social contract is not a gateway drug that leads directly and automatically to Socialism. The idea that we all have a responsibility to care for our fellow man is neither socialistic nor un-American. Perhaps this is the defining difference between Liberals and Conservatives these days. Liberals believe that we have a responsibility to the wider community, that the collective should be elevated over the individual- because when an individual falls, the community has an implied responsibility to help that person up. Conservatives believe that the individual sits at the top of the food chain, and that the rights and prerogative of the individual trump any other consideration (Guees who screams the loudest demanding government assistance in an emergency?). Liberals believe that taxation represents a redistribution of wealth for the common good. Conservatives fear and loathe taxation as the usurpation of the rights of the individual- “I got mine; you can damned well get your own.”
As if things weren’t already bad enough, along comes Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with the difficult to fathom notion that Iraq should reimburse Americans for lives lost and money spent “liberating” Iraq. Never mind that we invaded a sovereign nation (pay no attention to the facts) based on lies, propaganda, and fudged intelligence. Never mind that George W. Bush’s illegal and immoral war has resulted in the death of (depending on whose numbers your believe) somewhere in the neighborhood of 600,000 Iraqi civilians. Never mind the international laws of war that were openly and repeatedly violated…and yet will never be prosecuted.
This smacks of an old Chinese tactic: billing the family of the executed for the bullets used to kill their loved one.
It’s over 800 billion dollars that we have expended [in Iraq]. I believe that Iraq should pay us back for the money that we spent, and I believe that Iraq should pay the families that lost a loved one several million dollars per life, I think at minimum.
Stunning in its arrogance, sense of entitlement, and complete disregard for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed in our drive to “liberate” Iraq, isn’t it? Only someone virtually devoid of humanity and decency could come up with something like this and completely blow past the arrogance and the hypocrisy contained in those words.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has also voiced to the Iraqi government the expectation that we be reimbursed for the money we spent in “liberating” them. The arrogance behind this expectation fairly boggles the mind.
Not only did we invade a sovereign Iraq. We destroyed much of the nation, killed hundreds over thousands of innocent civilians, destroyed villages, and ripped families apart. You’d think that a victorious nation would be humble in recognition of the damage and loss of life inflicted upon a vanquished people…and you’d be wrong. Instead, we spiked the football in the end zone and are now taunting the opposition upon whom we’ve run up the score.
[T]he kick-‘em-while-they’re-down attitude embodied in this GOP rhetoric isn’t just run-of-the-mill jingoism and it’s not just limited to discussions of foreign policy. It’s part of a new and larger blame-the-victim project by Republicans — one designed to resurrect notions of American exceptionalism while simultaneously defending the wealthy, the powerful and the status quo.
It’s no wonder that America is increasingly coming to be seen as a classless, self-absorbed nation convinced that dominating the world is its absolute, unquestioned birthright. We’re viewed that way because that’s what Republicans would have us become- a nation of bullies who will steal your lunch money and still demand that you pay for their meal.
I’m proud to be an American, but I’m ashamed of my country. We’re better than this…but you’d never know if you listen to Republicans.