Truthout

Guns or Butter?

Thursday, 23 August 2012 15:02 By Bryan K. Bullock , Speakout | Op-Ed
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The US and Western support of the armed insurgency that seeks to destroy the government of Syria continues unabated and with little outcry from the people of the countries that are behind the violence. This is amazing and wrong.

It is reported that the US has provided up to $24 million dollars in "non-lethal" aid to the so-called rebels for over a year. Yet, the people in America do not have enough jobs or even adequate jobs to support themselves. The $24 million dollars spent on imperial misadventures in Syria could be used for construction projects in urban communities which would create jobs, direct grants and/or subsidies that could be given to Americans who are out of work or barely able to get on their feet, create mortgage subsidies to underwater homeowners, give cash assistance to the needy and the elderly and block grants directly to cities that have the highest concentration of poverty and crime. The American people should be outraged their elected so-called representatives can find money to destroy a country, but cannot find money to help their own people.

The US media and the politicians they support love to talk about governments who "kill their own people." But ironically we are killing our "own people" as we speak. By focusing on austerity measures which cut instead of invest, they are effectively limiting the life chances of millions of Americans. People have lost and are losing their homes, jobs, social service benefits and yet $24 million goes to people who are linked with the outfit behind the events of 9-11: al Quaeda. But even if al Quaeda was not being supported in Syria by America, the mere fact that people in this country are desperately trying to hold their lives together while their government funds foreign mercenaries is and should be, totally unacceptable.

Politicians like Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and John McCain, routinely call for cuts to unemployment, social security and welfare which benefit the common good, but support increased, open spending to destroy a nation that has done nothing to the people of America. This is madness. It was also reported that the US gave $24 million to the so-called rebels in Libya while we faced our biggest financial crisis in decades. At a time when homelessness is on the rise in America, particularly in New York, why does the government have millions of dollars to kill people in Syria and Libya?

Killers in foreign lands get "bail outs" to fight their own governments, an act that would be considered treasonous if carried out here at home. The American people however, do not get bail outs, "non-lethal" assistance or any of the financial support its government gives to mercenaries. Congress gridlocks over simple, yet critical issues like whether to extend unemployment benefits to Americans who are out of work.

Americans should be outraged. They should be asking simple yet important questions like: Why do mercenaries get millions and Americans must face "cuts?" Why does the Obama administration and the Congress spend millions on destabilizing Syria instead of spending millions to stabilize the economies of poor communities in America? Too many in Congress demonize the poor for being poor and refuse to use government resources to help them, readily give the people's money to overthrow governments in Libya and Syria. This is done under the banner of "democracy building," The people of the US must begin to demand economic democracy here at home. The American people must resist against this injustice by their own government. It cannot be acceptable to Americans that their government cannot invest in their own lives, but has money to destroy lives in other countries.

Dwight Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex when he said:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

The Constitution is a simple contract between the government and the people: The "people" allow their elected representatives handle the reigns of government as long they don't harm the people and provide for their general welfare. The government has clearly broken this compact. The American people are being harmed. Their institutions, like the postal service and public education are being starved and taken over. Their tax dollars are being used to line the coffers of the pseudo persons known as corporations. They are being spied upon, surveyed and lied into illegal and unjustified wars.

Americans should not be chastised to tighten their belts while their government gives, not loans, but gives millions of dollars to intervene in the lives and affairs of foreign states. This country cannot spend billions of dollars on the military and imperialism, when people cannot buy groceries, feed their families, send their children to college, pay their mortgages or rent, or otherwise enjoy the fruits of this country. The country and the government must choose one over the other.

This article is a Truthout original.

Bryan K. Bullock

Bryan K. Bullock is a human rights and civil rights attorney and former habeas counsel for detainees in Guantanamob Bay. He has been published in the Jurist.org and Voxunion.com.


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