*According to the Southeast University Consortium, 21.4 percent of the children in Iredell County, North Carolina, live in “food insecure homes.” (the county in which I reside)
*Across America, for lack of funds for trained police to be present, school districts are arming shooter qualified teachers in an effort to stop mass shootings.
*Mental health experts are asking for dollars to help prevent such sad events as the recent one in California’s VA facility and Lakeland, Florida.
*In 2017, the America Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of D+.
*Add your favorite here.
In 2001 immediately after 9/11, Gary Schroens, a C.I.A. officer, set up shop in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan. His task was to support the Northern Alliances’s drive on Kabul and search for Al Qaeda leaders. His men carried $10 million in boxed cash. Write that out: 10,000,000.00, and according to Steve Coll in Directorate S, “They handed our bundles like candy on Halloween.” According to Coll, Schroens visited Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf, a conservative mujaheddin leader who had once been close to Bin Laden. Schroens gave Sayyaf $100,000 in cash. Fast-forward to today, March 13, 2018 and Defense Secretary James Mattis is quoted as saying, “All wars come to an end,” and he says that some Taliban are ready to negotiate a peace settlement. Mattis warns that it is not all the Taliban, but enough to begin a serious discussion. It is his hope that little by little, more Taliban will be persuaded to quit fighting. All of this comes from a man who led the American forces in Afghanistan early on, and who, after seventeen years of war, over 2,400 lost lives of U.S. soldiers, and who knows how much money, has the gall to say anything about our terrible ordeal in Afghanistan and Pakistan that he, others in our military, the C.I.A., State Department, and two Presidents are responsible for. Oh, and many others who led America on a lost quest. Yes, Bin Laden was killed, but is his death worth all the costs?
Coll’s book is a tomb, and in many sections it reads as a well-crafted novel; such as when he recounts the experiences of Darin Loftis and Lieutenant Tim Hopper. There are villains in Asia and the United States, but the waste and shoddy attempts to build a democracy in tribal lands sickens me. “No Taliban or other Afghans participated in the September 11 attacks. The hijackers were Saudis and other Arabs. Khalid Sheikn Mohammed, the plot’s mastermind, was a Pakistani,” writes Coll.
I tire of the lies and deception and waste of our government. Since the end of WW II, have been fed a series of lies: Korea, Vietnam, the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” debacle, and now these two countries that we tried to swindle into becoming democracies.
Money alone will not correct problems that we face. But, I wonder how far the $10 million in boxes would have gone to protect our students?