War or Our Children--The Choice We Face

"There will be peace when we begin to love our children more than we hate our enemies."

This is from a Lebanese citizen in the New York Times, quoted by Barbara Coloroso in her 1994 book "Kids Are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline" (Avon Books, NYC).

The statement struck me as I pondered the budget President Bush proposed last week--several trillion dollars (it's a fantasy number we can't even fathom), mostly for defense, with deep cuts in social services and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

We are cutting programs that will help our kids. Millions of US children today don't have access to health care. Millions go to bed hungry. Millions are seeing resources, books, and playgrounds being cut from their schools.

Why? Because we have to feed this monster we created, this military/defense industry that is wrapped up in a war we have no logical or rationale basis to be in (the arrogant claim that Iraq is better off with us than without us is nonsensical and bordering on the criminal). Why? Because the people who run this country will make sure their friends, the largest corporate interests, will get as much as they can from the public trough. Why? Because power, empire, enrichment, and revenge are dictating our policies--not the long-range, wholesome, and healthy development of kids.

The new budget even has plans to sell thousands of federally protected land to make up for the losses in resources for poor rural communities (this is being considered the largest sell of public property since Theodore Roosevelt created the National Park Service at the turn of the last century).

Yes, the US has enemies. Yes, they are capable of much damage and destruction. Yes, we should cooperate with the world in comprehensive plans and ideas to address this. But now it's mostly us (it's a sham to keep calling the troops in Iraq "coalition forces"), filled with hate and fear, and willing to sacrifice our own children to "win at all cost."

We won't win, trust me on this. And we'll sacrifice our future generations in trying.

It's time for new ideas, new strategies, new wisdom, and new leadership. One that puts our children (and at the same time, the children of the world) foremost and center.

We can't afford to do otherwise. Trust me.


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