Friday, April 16, 2004

WE'RE A LITTLE SHORT OF FUNDS... Daniel Henninger tells how you, Mr. Citizen, can assist the war effort in Iraq:
The First Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Army in Iraq want to equip and upgrade seven defunct Iraqi-owned TV stations in Al Anbar province -- west of Baghdad -- so that average Iraqis have better televised information than the propaganda they get from the notorious Al-Jazeera. If Jim Hake can raise $100,000, his Spirit of America will buy the equipment in the U.S., ship it to the Marines in Iraq and get Iraqi-run TV on the air before the June 30 handover.
Doesn't sound like such a bad idea, but why is this Marine (hopefully aided by what Henninger calls "the coalition of the can-do") compelled to take up a collection for it, rather than can-doing it with government money? Henninger says, to "bypass the slow U.S. procurement bureaucracy." That's nice, we all hate bureaucracy, but isn't the War on Terror a top government priority? If so, why isn't this funded by the cash-glutted Pentagon, rather than a serviceman's tin cup?

I mean, Jesus fucking Christ. The State Department hired a top advertising executive to promote our cause in the Middle East, but they can't jack up a hundred large for a studio and a couple of transmittors?

This sticks in my craw even more than it might have because of a conversation I had recently with a woman whose son was plaguing me to buy raffle tickets for a school fundraiser, the purpose of which was to buy books, paper, and other essentials. The kid goes to a public school. I asked, doesn't the budget cover that? And I was informed that this sort of begging was common; public schools never have enough government green to pay for all the necessities of education.

Even in this era of religious belief in limited government (which, like Christianity, is often invoked and seldom observed), that blows my mind. And now I'm asked to pry open my wallet, not for the widows and orphans whose diminishing share of government funding is a long-standing if bitter reality, but for basic military and educational operations?

What the fuck did I just pay taxes for? Or, maybe more to the point, what the fuck did the wealthiest Americans not just pay taxes for?

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