The moon is golden as it sets.
I read yesterday that people who have had cancer have difficulty getting health insurance. Paying for the medication I take costs them hundreds of dollars a month. I pay $10.00 but if I were to lose this health insurance, I probably could not get it again because I have a pre-existing condition. There is something horrendously wrong with this. How can the richest country in the world have so many people without life insurance? This problem is reaching well into the middle class now and yet I read the headlines today. Bush is now concerned with Latin America, and I think we should have concern there, but what about basic health care for every American?
The NY times announces that "The president will introduce plans to cut poverty and create jobs in Latin America," because of anti-American sentiment there. Maybe he hasn't noticed that he needs to do the same here. How much more fun it is to go help those "poor" countries instead of noticing the number of people here who might need help? There are no headlines in doing your job, in doing what is expected, what is moral.
I also feel concern about the lack of attention to the culture of Iraq. I offer the last few paragraphs of an editorial by Matthew Bogdanos in the NY Times today suggesting we "Fight for Iraq's Culture."
He later continues with how it would be if we and other countries did honor the cultural history and protect the artifacts that are history for us all.
In this way, Mesopotamia’s cultural patrimony would be safe, Al Jazeera would have to find other ways to show TV clips of Western indifference to Arab culture, and the terrorists would have to find another income source.
One challenge has been convincing European governments that providing coordinated site security would not be a statement in support of the war. But surely they could be persuaded that it would be a humanitarian effort to protect a cultural heritage rich with common ancestry that predates the splits among Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite.
The lesson for the United States is that we must never again cede the moral high ground on cultural issues like this one. In advance of any future military action, we should assign units the task of protecting cultural property. And all troops scheduled to deploy overseas should receive cultural awareness training; the Archaeological Institute of America has already conducted some seminars at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Yes, diverting resources to save cultural artifacts during a time of war may seem like cutting funds for the police and firefighters in order to expand the public library. And my decision to expand my team’s counterterrorist mission to investigate the looting of the museum was characterized by many as a distraction. But some soldiers before us have seen the wisdom of this approach. “Inevitably, in the path of our advance will be found historical monuments and cultural centers which symbolize to the world all that we are fighting to preserve,” said Dwight Eisenhower just before D-Day. “It is the responsibility of every commander to protect and respect these symbols whenever possible.”
Matthew Bogdanos, a colonel in the Marine Reserves and an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, is the author, with William Patrick, of “Thieves of Baghdad.”