Tuesday, July 12, 2005


The leaders of China ignored the air pollution from burning coal for many years. The leaders did not tell the people about the harmful effects of that pollution. The bodies of Chinese citizens had no way of hiding from the mercury and other pollutants introduced into the atmosphere by that coal. People in Chinese cities now understand many people are suffering from asthma and dying of lung cancer. Finally, the leaders of China had to admit that nearly 10% of Chinese efforts are lost due to the effects of air pollution each year.

Many people believe they have little control over the events that shape their daily lives. They really do not understand that powerful leaders are the cause of many major issues. When your wife tells you to take out the trash, you do so obediently, even if it means missing part of the game you are watching. The boss wants more work done by Friday, you dare not complain about how that means you now need to work late every night this week.

The evening traffic jams seem to move slowly past never ending road construction. You think it is because you left work later than usual. The radio announcer reads stories about some kid that died in the Iraq War or about rising health care costs or about problems with local schools. You finally get home and your wife hands you the new bills that arrived in the mail. She already opened them and wants to know where the money to pay them will come from. You can only sit down, pour a drink and try to guess how your world got this way. Did you bring all these problems upon on yourself?

When a leader cannot accomplish the great promises made during the heat of an election, it quickly becomes obvious. To begin with, leaders hold press conferences under bright lights to announce how they will fulfill those promises. Details and plans are only partially explained, the leader promises to provide more complete answers at a later time. If a leader openly told us they are going to spend all our money on a war, change the system that provides some security for old people and outlaw certain medical procedures, people would immediately shout "NO!"

Rich leaders know the truth does not sound good to ordinary people. This is why leaders try to trick their citizens with fancy excuses and even lies. They say the war is over, they promise lower taxes to everyone and forget to even mention the big issue of health care costs.

Opponents of failing leaders quickly begin making plans to stop the damage and reveal the truth. Hearings are called to determine the real truth. In other lands, other leaders gather to make plans in case their country is impacted by the poor leadership of that other country. Small nations worry about being invaded. Leaders of a powerful country seldom enjoy any real element of surprise but their mistakes sure can do a lot of damage to other parts of the world.

As the days go past, the pressure on our leaders only increases. News organizations closely follow how much each leader is accomplishing. Press people are expected to hold news conferences, eventually leaders must also face questions from inquiring journalists. Effective leaders can look directly into the cameras as they outline each success. A failing leader looks down, here and there, anywhere but at the lens that serves as the eye of the people.

Computers and the Internet bring the truth into the public eye far more rapidly than ink and printing presses did in the past. Now anyone can cross-check facts, look at actual photographs and possibly make more informed choices. If the majority of the people spend most free time intoxicated and passively watching pointless television programs, a crafty leader may be able to hide the truth for a little while. If only a small percentage of the population knows the truth, it may be possible to fool the crowds, for a short time. Truth, however, has that eternal power to become visible over time.

The leaders of United States try hard to conceal the true reasons, the use of torture and the ultimate consequences of the War in Iraq from the American people. Americans still learn the truth no matter how hard they try to hide it from us. Each poor American family that lost a productive member through combat death or severe injury has no way of ignoring that grim reality.

The rich do not send their children to go die in combat. But it was the wealthy who demanded that American armies initiate yet another crusade in the Middle East. The rich knew they needed that Iraqi oil to be able to continue lining their family pockets with gold. To pay for luxurious homes, giant automobiles and expensive vacations, America's millionaires need cheap oil.

The oil of Iraq turned out to be quite expensive indeed. The cost for that oil is being paid in deep red American blood. The money for the war comes from US school budgets, healthcare programs and giant loans from countries in Asia. Finally, the people of America are waking up to the understanding that the invasion of Iraq was a very stupid and illegal action.

The real cost of the War in Iraq is being deducted straight out of the future of poor families in the United States. Families with no father, no son, no daughter or no healthcare are trying to get by on jobs that do not pay the monthly bills. Poor communities across the US have no money to repair broken down schools, bridges or roads. The Army does not even have enough money to provide proper treatment for the disabled veterans wounded in the last war! All the money is being stolen by the people who used lies to convince everyone to go to war in Iraq.

In each case, people are learning more from the actual events taking place around them than from commercial news sources like TV or newspapers. The price of gas is now more than twice what it was before American leaders started the war. You know the schools and roads are a wreck. Many people now say they have no way of paying larger and larger hospital bills. Repeated visits to hospitals and eventually, attending a funeral teaches us a harsh, unforgiving lesson. The cold truth of losing a loved one can only be accepted if the actions that led to that lost life were absolutely necessary and understandable. Do the results of the War in Iraq seem necessary and understandable to you?

The lessons we each must learn lurk behind the names etched in rows of new granite blocks throughout military burial grounds across the United States. We have no other choice but to understand exactly who got America into this terrible war and why. The real reasons for this bloody slaughter must be made clear to everyone. All people in positions of power must be held to account for their decisions, but especially those who deliberately deceived the public. If those leaders are not brought to justice soon we can blame only ourselves when the same leaders repeat the same pointless slaughter of our precious children, wives and husbands, in the next war.

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