Look at the larger costs of war on Saddam

By SAM MOSES

Special to the News

We correctly described Saddam as a barbaric monster, using that as justification for this war, as if we had never heard of Pol Pot, that barbaric gardener of Cambodia’s Killing Fields. We pointed out that Saddam had gassed his own people, conveniently overlooking our own history, in which the U.S. Army committed acts of genocide against our Native Americans with weapons of mass destruction, called Gatling guns.

But let’s not forget what we were told we are fighting for: homeland security, not democracy in Iraq. Democracy might prevail in Iraq, but it won’t justify this war. If it is allowed to, then the U.S. will be compelled to overthrow the next tyrant and liberate the next country on the never-ending list.

My own opposition to the war is more economic than moral. The suffering we are inflicting upon thousands of innocent Iraqis, including children, is shameful, but it still may be arguable that Saddam Hussein would kill more Iraqis over the next few years than we will over the next few months. What is not arguable is that we need homeland security, and it won’t be cheap. We don’t need to be blowing that money by rebuilding Iraq.

It baffles me how good conservatives can get behind the Bush policies, which might be better described as anti-conservative, not neo-conservative.

A good conservative would not be intimidated to the point of panic by a two-bit tyrant like Saddam, nor would he believe we need to be trying to liberate an enigmatic country in a part of the world where we are hated, especially at a time when we can ill afford it.

This administration has repeatedly blocked attempts to increase security budgets for our sites most vulnerable to terrorism. Think Hanford. It is currently proposing an addition to the budget of $4 billion for homeland security — about 1/20th of just the first installment for Iraq.

The proposed tax cut allows the super-rich to keep more of their money, and leaves the rest of us exposed to terrorism that might possibly be thwarted with some of that money. It also leaves us with poorer education, fewer medical benefits — and now, a stunning federal cut in veterans’ benefits.

That’s how we and our children are paying for our alleged security from the personal threat Saddam Hussein poses to us.

***

Sam Moses lives in White Salmon.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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