A Tale of Two Telethons (MDA vs. the Iraq War Industry)
Every Labor Day, for 40 years, America endured bad comics, aging vocalists, and Ed McMahon on air for 21 hours straight in pursuit of a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. We felt the pain of each "poster-child" and shared their hopes with every drum roll that heralded new numbers on the telethon tote-board. For 40 years, celebrities begged us to keep the phones ringing and we did -- to the tune of $1.5 billion in donations.
Today, there is a phone ringing back. Pick it up America. It's your wake up call!
For the past 4 years, cable news has been broadcasting a new kind of corporate telethon for the defense industry, complete with theme music and a logo, live from Baghdad. And though you never signed the donation checks, your state representatives called in over $450 billion of your money to invade and occupy a country who's people never asked for our intervention and who resent us more every day. Their poster-child is now any one of a hundred thousand who are missing a parent or limb in exchange for a small measure of democracy that came packaged with a long future of sectarian violence.
Every 4 days that we stay in their country costs more than was donated to "Jerry's Kids" in over 40 years! That is about $1 million every 4 minutes payed mostly to no-bid contractors like Halliburton (our Vice-President's former corporation) to rebuild cities we destroyed with million dollar bombs. Today, billions of those dollars are unaccounted for due to alleged "waste, fraud and war profiteering".
The Labor Day telethon is over, but we can still be heroes to thousands of G.I.'s who desperately need to be cured of this administration's failed policy and have earned a ticket home in a first class seat rather than a cargo body bag. Phone in your pledge that if your Congressperson doesn't stop funding our occupation of Iraq, you'll stop funding them.
Ask them to set a new course out of Iraq and to work cooporatively to get more U.N. and less U.S. in the middle of international affairs. Then, hopefully, by next Labor Day, America can redirect a portion of the savings to fixing the holes in our homeland security, education, healthcare & social security and you can donate a part of your tax debt reduction to "Jerry's Kids" -- or to Katrina relief, or cancer research, or rebuilding our own bridges... anything besides risking American lives on unilateral crusades that require us to DESTROY and REBUILD FOREIGN CITIES!
Want cheaper fuel & electricity? With 4 days of Iraq funds we could double this year's Renewable Energy research budget aimed at ending our dependance on foreign oil and the greedy corporations that exploit it.
Worried about Iraq? A poll conducted by the University of Maryland this month found 71% of Iraqis want us out within 1 year, 78% feel our presence is provoking more conflict than it is preventing, and 61% endorse violence against our troops.
Worried about your safety? The consensus of 16 US intelligence agencies is that our Iraq occupation is spawning a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the invasion.