Why are we still there?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 18, 2004

A friend sent me this serious piece: It is time to take a serious look at our involvement there. Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. The land is too large to secure all of it. The bad people causing this damage can roam anywhere, and we can’t possibly police the whole land. Why are we still there? We occupied this territory by force but it causes us nothing but problems. Their government is unstable and in the process of changing again, refugees are leaving by the thousands, driven from their homes by hapless government, fires and rainstorms. It will cost billions to rebuild, which we can’t afford. There are more than 1,000 religious sects. We can’t even secure the borders; why are we still there? And to repeat: Every day we hear about more Americans killed in this dangerous land. It is clear we must abandon California.

Did you catch any of these published brilliant remarks made by our nation’s celebrities? Brook Shields said during an interview, &uot;Smoking kills. If you are killed you’ve lost an important part of your life.&uot; Does this prove you don’t need a college degree to become an actor? How about Mayor Marion Barry when he said, &uot;Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.&uot; And a congressional candidate in Texas boasted, &uot;The scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass and I’m just the one to do it.&uot; No doubt that fella will be elected. Then there is the Philadelphia Phillies manager who astutely reported that, &uot;Half of this game is 90 percent mental.&uot; His salary is $3 million.

Presidential hopeful Al Gore said in a speech that, &uot;It isn’t the pollution that’s harming our environment, it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.&uot; Obviously he should be president. Lee Iacocca, on the same subject reflected, &uot;We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?&uot; During a meeting of high officials President Bill Clinton said, &uot;If we don’t succeed we run the risk of failure.&uot; His entire cabinet was seen scratching their heads. Gore said, &uot;We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.&uot; The cabinet nodded agreement. You can’t argue with facts; an Australian official reported, &uot;Traditionally most of Australia’s imports come from overseas.&uot;

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Governor Mark Warner came to town armed with the indisputable fact that if we expect to have government services we must pay for them. When the public treasury gets low and still headed south the brains in Richmond or Washington first cut services that will cause the public great pain. Example: Department of Motor Vehicles personnel. Nothing causes negative reactions more than long waiting lines. Even in stores some long-line attendees fret a bit then all but shout obscenities if another check out line does not open very quickly. I’m one of those. But shouting won’t help at the DMV. More than likely a cop will be called even though we are short of them.

The government knows how to exact pain and would rather inflict it than cut back on spending where it wouldn’t affect the public. Their solution, more like extortion, raise taxes in line with pork needs, and &uot;you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours&uot; needs. Warner wants to raise them, sensibly he says, and Republicans won’t cooperate, though sensibly they should if they aren’t willing to stop wasting money. This has gone on for decades and you folks keep sending diehard politicians back up there. It appears it’s you, the voters, that have not caught on – it amazes me how avid people, like sheep, will wave banners, shout huzzahs, cajole others, to get in line with them, completely unaware that most candidates they support in time will turn on them as soon as they figure out the system. And you will be standing in lines forever.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com