Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In need of focus

Greetings to all! I've been mostly gone for about a month now, but occasionally finding time to read the wonderful posts and comments here. But as is the theme here on Page 132, I'm also a teacher, so it's time again to be coming back to the classroom - which for me has the added bonus of being the place where I have a computer with Internet access!

It also lets me bring in the several hundred dollars worth of supplies I've once again bought for my class and students and get away from the TV - which has been showing almost nothing for the last couple days but stories about Hurricane Katrina. Sure, it is news worthy and awful, but I think our focus is a bit off. It's early, but the reports I've seen over (and over and over) have over 50 people dead (and counting) with financial costs that could be up to $30 billion . That's bad - no one is questioning that (and even if we wanted to, the media won't let us). But aren't there other costs we could focus at least a sliver of our attention on?

In Iraq, there are lots of ways to consider the "cost" of our actions there, but let's just keep it simple with the deaths and the dollars. We're quickly approaching 2000 American military deaths, but thanks in large part to people like Cindy Sheehan, that number isn't a real mystery - though it sure isn't getting forty times the attention of Katrina. The number of casualties that gets absolutely no attention is the one that's around 25,000 - the number of innocent Iraqis who have been killed so we could get those WMDs. No, wait, it was so we could pay them back for 9-11. No, wait, it was so they could get that freedom and democracy they all had been craving and calling for. Well, whatever it was for, those people are all dead and hardly ever mentioned. It makes me almost wonder if it would have been better if we had just gone to a legitimate "war" AGAINST Iraq, instead of just killing them for their own good. Something tells me that if we were producing a 25-2 ratio of deaths against an actual "enemy" that we'd be promoting that as great evidence of our military superiority. Let's not forget the other forgotten number from Iraq - the money! $190 billion and counting! I know any military engagement is expensive, but it's not like this country's economy is flourishing or that we're really getting much out of an investment of $190 billion. Actually, what I think is most interesting about this is that people are seeing all the devastation that Katrina has caused and no one bats an eye about $30 billion to re-build, but who is asking about the devastation of being brutally attacked for two plus years by the world's strongest army and what Iraq looks like and what the costs of them re-building is?

And then there is the least reported number of them all. The death toll in Darfur. Whether it's 70,000 (unlikely) or 400,000 (unimaginable, but likely) it's a number and a story that deserves more media attention than Katrina and more attention from the government than Iraq.