Stop Asking For Our TaxesTo Fund Your War!
Sudhama Ranganathan, 12.03.2013 15:00
As a generous nation, sometimes we think that providing help to foreign nations when asked is good enough, and that we do not need to be vigilant over what we do with our hard worked for money. We just assume, because leaders of a certain nation tell us it's being used in the pursuit of peace and wholesome things, that what they tell us is fact. So we go on feeding them cash, believing in the souvenir shop painting-like image that all is beauty, all is pure, and that we have done what is right under our God and by our own moral compass. But when we are unaware, sometimes great misdeeds happen under our name.
Does humanitarian aid include the grime of old caked on blood, thickly coating our hands? Is that part of the idyllic picture? Do we trade in the killing of innocents, man woman and child. Do we trade in the crushing of the freedoms of whole groups of other peoples, whether Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian? Do we support the pain and suffering caused when one group of people targets another for eradication, whether slowly or quickly? Does that fall in line with the morals of Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews or anyone else.
Whether religious or not, are we killers of the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized or any other group? Does that fall in line with an American ethic? If any group purposely seeks over and over to destroy others simply because they feel they have a right to, and that they are better than that group do we support that? Are we, as Americans, friends to mutilators, murderers, plunderers, enemies to hope, ethnic cleansers, stealers of liberty, exterminators of humans, forced through the barrel of a gun social manipulators and experimenters, natural resource hoarders, food and medical aid thieves/ deniers or pillagers of American citizens bank accounts from the comfortable chars of the seats of power of other nations?
We decry Russian mobsters paying impoverished young Russian children to hack into Americans bank accounts, PayPal accounts, credit card accounts, etc to loot our hard earned dollars for their own selfish purposes. How dare they take advantage of us like that? We work as hard as anyone else in any other nation for our money. We deserve to keep it and only spend it on those things we deem worthy. If we discover our hard earned cash is going to others, we become concerned. When we discover it's going to people claiming to be using it towards one end, but in reality using it towards their own selfish, greedy and even evil gains, we want nothing more than to stop the flow of money to those doing harm, and to recoup the amount of money we feel we may have been cheated out of.
It has happened over and over and in many ways. That sad part is, that often instead of reporting on it, our media, for some reason, often remains quiet. A good example of this can be seen with the Taliban. That's right, the Taliban in Afghanistan, the same guys that are shooting at and killing our guys, the same guys that our government was well aware were harboring the leaders of Al Qaeda, and allowed that group to keep training camps in Afghanistan, when they ran it and the same guys committing terrorist bombings in Afghanistan today planned in Pakistan yesterday.
The CATO institute reported in 2002, “The United States has made common cause with an assortment of dubious regimes around the world to wage the war on drugs. Perhaps the most shocking example was Washington’s decision in May 2001 to financially reward Afghanistan’s infamous Taliban government for its edict ordering a halt to the cultivation of opium poppies.
“When the Taliban implemented a ban on opium cultivation in early 2001, U.S. officials were most complimentary. James P. Callahan, director of Asian Affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, uncritically relayed the alleged accounts of Afghan farmers that 'the Taliban used a system of consensus-building' to develop and carry out the edict. That characterization was more than a little suspect because the Taliban was not known for pursuing consensus in other aspects of its rule. Columnist Robert Scheer was justifiably scathing in his criticism of the U.S. response. 'That a totalitarian country can effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising,' Sheer noted, but he considered it 'grotesque' for a U.S. official to describe the drug-crop crackdown in such benign terms.
“Yet the Bush administration did more than praise the Taliban’s proclaimed ban of opium cultivation. In mid-May, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a $43 million grant to Afghanistan in addition to the humanitarian aid the United States had long been providing to agencies assisting Afghan refugees. Given Callahan’s comment, there was little doubt that the new stipend was a reward for Kabul’s anti-drug efforts. That $43 million grant needs to be placed in context. Afghanistan’s estimated gross domestic product was a mere $2 billion. The equivalent financial impact on the U.S. economy would have required an infusion of $215 billion. In other words, $43 million was very serious money to Afghanistan’s theocratic masters.” ( http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-washington-funded-taliban)
Yup, the US government okayed giving the theocratic Taliban government $43 million in hard earned US working class and middle class taxpayer cash – the equivalent of $215 billion by our nation's standards – less than four months prior to September 11, 2001. Despite the fact they were harboring the folks that had already attacked the United States on numerous occasions, including the bombing of the USS Cole, our government gave them money. That's what's happening with our money when we aren't looking.
It happens. Sometimes people in lofty positions, like those doling out our dough, forget themselves and become drunk with the gifts life has allowed them. For example, when I was young, I remember witnessing this in certain people of the Brahmin caste from India, not all, but some. For those that don't know, Brahmins are of the highest caste in Indian society, and are considered the highest and most pure by that caste system – a system they long ago brought to and imposed on India themselves of course.
Until very recently they dominated Indian society, as all others were oppressed and not allowed to rise beyond prescribed roles – that were of course codified and implemented by Brahmins themselves. By that I don't refer to religious roles, I mean as society progressed and became more westernized and industrialized, they allowed themselves to be educated in the Western style and get all the jobs that education opened them up to. They took all the seats in politics and while they rose and became wealthy, they still forced the rest of society to remain impoverished and in prescribed roles in society from birth, right down to public toilet cleaners – no choice. When the first few waves of Indians came over and became educated the vast majority were Brahmins. They were the only ones that could afford the expensive plane trip over from literally halfway around the world. The exceptions of course were those brought over to do cheap and indentured labor long ago.
It's much different now, but some of those things still remain. My family are not Brahmin, but because they excelled at music for generations, they were held in a certain place of esteem, and, when Indian music became popular in the West during the 1960's and 1970's, my family members had the opportunity to resettle here and start over, with the opportunity for a better life for their children. They specifically kept us away from traditional classical Indian music, because they wanted us to choose our own paths and our own lives.
Even though some kids that are raised here as Brahmins may have diluted, repressed or denied the idea that they believe they are privileged and all others are beneath them, sometimes it still surfaces, for those that were never strong enough to shed it. It comes from how they were raised, and is often laced into their personality, and though they may try to hide it, at times it pops up to the surface. I was reminded of this when I was watching Dr Sanjay Gupta of CNN on the Conan O’Brien show a few weeks ago. He was telling a joke and his upbringing, and most likely parents attitude, peeked through.
He talked about how he noticed his daughter playing with his stethoscope in the backseat of his car while he was driving and how he thought it might be a telling moment for him as a parent. He described it as being something that every parent might notice intently as a sign of their child's chosen path in life. Then he voiced his dismay when she grabbed the end of the stethoscope and said into it, “welcome to MacDonald's may I take your order.” It was lighthearted and slightly funny on one level, but you could also hear an uncomfortable ripple though some of the crowd as Conan forced a laugh, and was obviously a little uncomfortable. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPMhk9e6g8I)
Here we are in the middle of a painful and long recession, at a time when we are all struggling for a job. A job at Mac Donald’s can be a godsend for a parent looking for a way to put food on the table, and is actually a very upwardly mobile job, for those that can stick it out through the fast pace. I myself worked many restaurants starting at the age of thirteen as a dishwasher, and have worked in fast food too. I'm ashamed of none of those jobs. My cousin started working at CVS pharmacy in high school, and stayed through college.
After graduation from college she went into a management position, and she stayed there for years learning the ropes with regards to the corporate world. What's wrong with a little hard work coming from modest beginnings? How could a journalist overlook how hard people have it right now in that way? CNN themselves reported that since 2001 middle class has receded while the very wealthy have become much wealthier. ( http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/21/news/economy/middle_class_income/index.htm) His sense of entitlement showed that day, and a certain lack of compassion for those without the blessings he's been given in life – especially when he momentarily forgets the cameras are rolling.
In the same way, the people that give money to fund oppressive regimes like the Taliban, Mubarak’s former regime in Egypt and other nations forget that we don't like oppression and the stealing of liberty. We don't want our money going towards that. It's anti-everything that America is supposed to be for.
It the same with our funding of the ongoing war based on the mutual hatred between Israelis and Palestinians. It has caused Palestinians to suffer as the terrorist attacks continue, targeting innocent civilians. And it it causes Israel to become a nation that started as a way to escape oppression for their people to now being a nation that oppresses another group of people as a way of life, taking money to oppress Palestinians. It's at the point that now Israeli Christians, that have been there since biblical times, are running from Israel because the Israeli government is cracking down on them also. ( http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7406228n) Terrorism and Apartheid, Apartheid and terrorism over and over, and neither side is really doing anything to stop it. Yet, as this killing and bloodshed goes on and on, we are forced to pay both sides and fund both sides as result of policy makers that have become out of touch with the American way of life and guiding principles.
There may have been a time such help was necessary, but those days are long over. Funding Palestine or Israel hurts us as a people, for every time we fund the war between two peoples we become accessories to evil. We are liable for every death there and every child blown up, shot, set on fire and initiated by what they see and are indoctrinated into regarding the cycle of violence that is just not in keeping with our traditions. That sort of thing is not what the founding fathers had in mind.
Nations like these are not the sorts of places that deserve our money and oppressive regimes, like the Taliban are no different than Nazi's in mentality and spirit. They have the attitude that they are better, and others are less deserving. They are entitled to killing, maiming, plundering, hoarding and oppression. Jim Crowe, Apartheid, terrorism, and theocracies are not things we are in the business of funding – or should be either. To do so is not in keeping with constitutional mandates.
Right now we have a nation falling behind in education while we fund the killing of a child elsewhere. Any religion that supports that is not a religion of peace, but a twisted perversion of a good religion, rotted and turned to killing and murdering the innocent before they have a chance to grow and be good. We must not hold the hands of killers. In doing so we are actually hurting our own children. ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading)( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-16/us-schools-global-ranking/53110494/1)( http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5juGFSx9LiPaur6eO1KJAypB2ImVQ?docId=CNG.5337504e8f65acf16c57d5cac3cfe339.1c1)
Let's help our children read and write. Let’s not support the killing of kids. Let's not support bombing children by governments that are not ours. After all, we do not even support it when our government is bombing kids. Let us remember the wisdom of separating church and state. Let us remember the wisdom of keeping our taxes focused on our nation. Let us remember our founding fathers and where they went right in founding this great nation. They taught us to be vigilant over our funds. Let us remember them and the spirit passed down by that prudent lesson. God bless America and the American ethos.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.