Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


June 4, 2013

We the People: Reality check, anyone?

CROSSVILLE — Harry Truman had a birthday anniversary in early May. Harry was proud of being from the “show me” state. Republicans who aspire to stop all progress and set the clock back should take a lesson from Truman. He did something besides complain and obstruct progress.

Truman had a lot on his plate after FDR died and left Harry (FDR’s veep) in the dark about the Manhattan Project. Truman made the decision to use the first A-bombs. Japan surrendered. WWII ended, but the cold war began. The Marshall Plan helped rebuild Europe. The Korean War came under Truman. After that war (police action) South Korea prospered in contrast to what followed in North Korea under tyrannical rulers. The North Korean mess continues.

Today, after ten years in the “War on Terror,” radical Muslims still don’t want peace. They want to destroy Western Civilization and all secular government. This war may never be over. We keep hearing from well-meaning (but naïve) Americans that fundamentalist Muslims are good people who don’t want to be ruled by bad-tempered old mullahs in robes and beards. But many of those Muslims behave as if they don’t care much one way or the other.

There’s talk of educating Muslim girls in Afghanistan, but we see few commencement ceremonies. Experts on television brag about how many times they’ve been to Afghanistan but they don’t seem to learn much from going there. Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. is still delivering bags of cash to Hamid Karzai, the many-faced Afghan President. Karzai needs to show us that someone beside his tribal relatives is getting fat off American cash.

Corker also might show us how it benefits U.S. business for China to be sticking its arm in the cookie jar (as we leave) to exploit the lithium, copper and petroleum resources of Afghanistan. Lots of luck to China, though, in dealing with Afghan extremists. The Russians learned their lesson; we’re learning ours and China may be next.

We have proven that we can look down on terrorists from drones and kill them by the hundreds. But we have not shown how drones can help agriculture and industry. The CIA factbook says Afghanistan has sufficient snow-fed streams for irrigation to transform arid soils into productive fields. But do Afghanis know enough to dig ditches for irrigation water to grow something other than opium poppies, goats and an endless line of religious geezers wearing fancy do-rags? If that insults someone then so be it. American taxpayers are being insulted daily by contrary actions in response to what the U.S. has done to help the Afghanis “free” themselves.

We can’t impose our values on other parts of the world without cooperation. Schools can reduce ignorance but drones are only a new way to kill. Drones can’t cure stupidity in the living.

Why should we send more soldiers and bags of money to a country that shows less promise than a flea in a whirlwind? We the people have done our duty. We’ve made nice and we’ve made dirty. We could have wiped them off the map. Show us the positive evidence, or even an upward trend, of benefits for backward Afghanistan that makes the fighting and dying worth the price. We need straight talk, not more war talk, while we bring our forces home. Neo-conservatives should look for a more likely place to peddle arms and ammunition. We’ve rightfully had it with political tomfoolery at home and batty religious nuts in far deserts.

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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