On May 29, TGI published a lead editorial “America is losing the war on poverty.” Reading the editorial my first question was “Why a war again?” and the second one, “How do you fight a war?”
While I could not answer my first question, and so far I could not find anyone who could, I had the answer to my “How to …” question.
It is “with good planning, a strategy and with good weapons.” But if we accept that it should be a war, we also have to accept that the good weapon to fight poverty should not include Strykers, missiles, bombs and rifles and the like, unless you want a radical “solution” to kill off the poor. Here the weapons should be common sense and money. That generates the next question whether the United States of America has the money and their leaders the common sense. I can assure you that the country has enough (or should I say the government can print enough) money, but I have my doubts about its leaders possessing the second weapon: common sense. And I will tell you why. But let’s look at the issue of poverty first.
Is there anybody on the island who doubts that there is poverty in the big USA? I don’t think so. Every adult knows that, and it is just a personal preference if they are willing to talk about its causes. Those who have followed the poverty issue must have noticed that during the past 10 years there was a significant increase in the number of poor people in the U.S. Certain groups of the population, like Hawaiians, blacks and others were hit more than the white class.
Do I attribute it to Barack Obama, who is also black, and occupies the highest post in his country? Maybe, but marginally only. He may issue orders, he may sign bills into laws, but the country is still ruled by the 1 percent who is privileged and rich and mostly untouchable.
But what is the solution? Stash out a lot of money to the poor so that we bring them out of poverty? No, it is not. That would only be a very temporary remedy. The solution is to create jobs for them that pay decent wages and guarantee permanent income for the their families. What kind of jobs, you may ask?
I’m sure that if you just travel around this island with open eyes you will see that there is a lot of room for improvement starting with our parks and public facilities that are in shameful condition. But there are other job creation possibilities especially for those sectors where we rely on products or services coming from the so-called Mainland or sometimes from other countries. Oh, nice, nice, you might say, but where is the money for that? That’s the easiest part. You have to look for the money at places from where common sense is gone. And it is where the useless, immoral and hateful wars are fought.
Here are just two examples. Fighting Islamic State (ISIS) in countries that we have nothing to do with. Do you know what is the daily, I repeat daily, tab of the bombing campaigns the U.S. military is doing for more than a year? Nine million dollars!
The Pentagon just confirmed it officially. Yes, $9 million every day. Get your calculator out and you’ll see that it is $3.285 billion per year! You know how many people could have an income with a regular job from this amount? Plenty. But how do I connect it to the lost common sense?
These campaigns are no use, because since the bombings began, the area occupied by ISIS has doubled, and the number of ISIS fighters have increased almost four times despite the fact that the U.S. military has claimed they have killed in this campaign 10,000 militants (which I don’t believe for a minute).
They don’t talk about killing innocent people including women, elders and children. And they don’t talk about the effect of killing innocent people in their campaign which you can find out from the media of those countries where these bombings are conducted, namely that for every innocent person killed, there are four or five volunteers who join ISIS to revenge and to fight the aggressors — and guess who the aggressor is? Your son or your daughter who had signed up with the U.S. military and was deployed to the Middle East.
Even the Pentagon admitted that these bombings are ineffective on the large scale, because there are no spotters on the ground who would give them directions for better targets. And the biggest nonsense of all is that the U.S. does not have a full strategy on how to fight ISIS. Even the American president admitted it. Now you understand why I said that common sense is gone. Wouldn’t you be insane to continue a business for a year when you lose $9 million every day, and have no gains? Please answer it to yourself.
The other money source — training foreign soldiers and fighters in the Middle East by the U.S. military who failed to train them right in their 11 years of American occupation of Iraq. How much does it cost is not even the question. How can 11 years of failure turn into success now, is the main issue.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense just announced that they could recruit only 9,000 Iraqis instead of the expected 24,000 to be trained to fight. Then I saw their training video.
The trainers were teaching the Iraqi recruits how to aim and shoot with a rifle and other simple weapons. That’s the level of training we need to send American “experts” 7,000 miles away? And the other nonsense: Why the Americans, who are quite unpopular there, do the recruiting instead of the local military?
Looking for a strategy? Maybe if we train those foreign fighters how to lose quickly, there will be lasting peace and we will have enough money left to reduce poverty at home and give common sense a chance to return where it is most needed.
Janos Keoni Samu is a resident of Kalaheo