An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Richard Dreyfuss’

America needs to seriously examine our military spending, and soon

This is an article I wrote for last week’s issue of the The Northern Light, but it got axed due to repeats of topics and space-crunches.

It is not a very popular message right now – that America may just have to scale back on our military efforts around the world.  It is part of a growing reality that Americans have to face – that our economy is in trouble and it needs work.

At a general assembly meeting of the United Nations, held on the September 21st, President Obama spoke.  He had a simple thought about how peace among nations is done.

“Ultimately, peace depends on compromise, among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied.”

Unlike his economic policies, here he makes a very valid point.  Peace between nations, and inside of nations is something that people have to come together to figure out.  It is poetic that he brings up this notion, because right now, America needs to scale back what we are doing.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, the people all clamored for what we called “justice” to be brought to the leaders of Al Qaeda.  It has always been a point of interest how some Americans seem to believe that killing another person is justice.  This country went to war, led by a President who was very open to the concept.  This was a mistake.

Obama came into office with two wars we were involved in.  Now, this country is involved in five.  For a nation that was in a severe recession, and is heading in the direction of a double-dip recession, this is not a good thing.

It cannot be argued that America’s economy is in a really bad place.  The August reports showed no job growth at all.  America’s credit rating has gone down.  The Stock Market is going down.  The big question becomes, how do we fix this?  How do we make it so that this nation doesn’t suffer an economic collapse?  The answer may not make people happy.

Military spending in this country is one of the biggest holes that money keeps getting thrown into.  According to the National Priorities Project, over $1.2 trillion have been spent in total in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Alaska has paid over $2 billion in this war effort, and the numbers are growing every day.

America has the largest military force on Earth.  It is larger than the top ten nations that come behind us combined.  What makes this problematic is that not only does our nation have the largest military on Earth, but it is over-burdened and over-extended.

“We have tens of thousands of troops in Korea and Japan.  We have over 50,000 troops in Germany.  Hitler, ladies and gentlemen, I think we got him,” said Bill Maher on his stand-up special But I’m Not Wrong.

That’s a good perspective to have.  Not even examining the major wars that we are involved in, how much money is being spent in places that we serve no purpose?  What’s more, how we use the military is a waste of time.

To go after those who destroyed the World Trade Center, we should have done so with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.  Richard Dreyfuss was asked if 9/11 was a civics lesson, and if we learned the right lessons from it during an interview on CNN.

“We’ve learned the wrong lessons from it.  We are learning the wrong lessons from it, because we’re lying about it.”

The fact is that Bush made the decision to call it the war on terror, instead of calling it the war on extremist Islam, of even just the war on Al Qaeda.  That would have opened the door for the other groups to distance themselves, and even aid America.  Instead, that door has been closed, and when the moderate Muslim community has tried to play nice with American efforts, a lot of the time, our country ignores it.

Take the instance of the “Underwear Bomber.”  The father of that man had met with a member of the CIA and told them that his son was going to bomb us, and they ignored him.  So our efforts are misplaced on all fronts.

The cold reality is that this country can literally not afford these wars anymore.  America is heading into another recession, and it is time to scale back, and slash the military budget into ribbons.  That is a part of the answer to what is plaguing this country.

And what’s more, the people need to get on board.  For a long time, the mentality of this country has been, if you are not for the wars, you are a bad person.  Dissent and discussion needs to come back to this country, and more than anything else, that is what should also be considered when discussing our social and economic future.

Peace out,


America, it’s time to move on from 9/11

It is one of those things that needs to sometimes be said.  Sometimes, a person need to rise above the urge to be a part of a movement, to be a part of a system, and say what society, or a certain area of society, needs to hear.  And society, or at least American society, does need to hear this.  They need to hear this because every single area of this country is guilty.  America, you need to move on from 9/11.  Bad stuff happens all the time, but the fact is that this is not the worst thing that has ever happened anywhere.  It is a combination of laziness, egotism, and simple lack of concern that has made this great boogieman the enemy that it is today.

The first person to blame in all of this is the media.  They were to blame, they are to blame.  They are absolutely to blame.  The media and the fact that they are being completely lazy is very much to blame in how 9/11 has become the great source of talk that it is.  The media did something that it shouldn’t have done after 9/11.  It covered this to DEATH!  To this day, they are almost canonizing (in their own way), the people who did this crime.  Rather than ignoring.  Rather than treating this rationally, they decided to do what the modern news media seems to always do, and hype it up, sell it big.  They created another boogieman for the nation to fear.  Sensationalization has become the ultimate failing of the media.

And every year, they bring it up.  Again and again, like we just need to be told every tiny detail that happens.  Like we are just supposed to experience it all, again and again.  How are the families who suffered incidents like this not offended by this?  Why are they not more annoyed?  Every time the news decides that they can’t think of something new to talk about, the terrorists are the big topic.

The worst part about 9/11, as Richard Dreyfuss pointed out, was that we didn’t learn the right lessons from it.  Instead of being rational, we had an idiot Texan in office who decided to use it to fuel two power-hungry wars that have funneled over $1 trillion of the taxpayers’ money into them.  The military-industrial complex is the only area that has done well after all of this.

Then there are the people who believe that this is the worst disaster to ever happen ever, or even those who believe that this is the worst thing to happen in America, that more people have never died in another American incident.  Ever heard of the Civil War?  Thousands of people have died in a single day in that war!  Thousands of people die from drunk drivers every year.  People die from disease every year.  People die from smoking every year.  People die from cancer every year.  Now, those people dying was horrible, that’s the truth, but every single person who goes on spouting off about how this is the biggest tragedy in American history needs to shut their mouths!

It is actually kind of infuriating, because the rest of the world is suffering terrorism.  Some nations have bombings and attacks happen pretty much every day.  People in this country are so ethno-centric that we fail to realize that there is this whole big world out there that is filled with people who are dying, often in ways that are much worst than a building collapsing on top of you, getting crushed by a plane, or falling to your death.  When people of this country expect the rest of the world to pat us on the back and say how sorry they are, what kind of message does that send?!

It is a tragic thing that that happened, but as a rather foul-mouthed vlogger said, “get over it already!”  This is how it work – something bad happens, you mourn for a while, and then you move on.  It is the media and the government who is exploiting this to death.  My field, journalism, is given a worse and worse name because every single day, when they decide to drag this incident through the mud again, the people who actually lost somebody are being exploited.  This incident is becoming a lot like the Founding Fathers to conservatives – just something that they can mine and use and exploit, regardless of the facts.

America, move on!  We are not so special.  It is an unpopular opinion to have, but people need to have it.

Peace out,


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