June 14, 2013

Obama To Arm Syrian Rebels: Does Anyone Remember The Sequester?

Never mind whether it’s a good idea to go along with old-man John “get off my lawn” McCain and arm the Syrian “rebels,” I ask, can we afford it? I mean, remember “the sequester” cuts? It was the across-the-board cuts to all kinds of government programs including defense. This was what we got instead of a sensible budget deal. It’s also what we got instead of tax increases above the rather minimal tax increase for top income earners that happened at the beginning of the year. Because why raise taxes on those who can afford to pay more taxes when you can just fuck the poor instead.

So if we are going to send small arms, ammunition and maybe even anti-tank weapons to rebels in Syria, then I suggest we make sure senior citizens aren’t going hungry in this country first.

The Huffington Post — Meals On Wheels surveyed 640 of its local member organizations on how they’ve coped since the cuts took effect in March. Forty percent of programs have eliminated staff positions. Seventy percent are putting more people on waiting lists, increasing the number of those on waiting lists by an average of 58 seniors per list. And programs have cut an average of 364 meals per week.

“Every day, Meals on Wheels programs provide a lifeline by serving meals to our nation’s most vulnerable, frail, and isolated seniors,” association president Ellie Hollander said in a statement. “The real impact of sequester is that our programs don’t have the ability to expand to meet the growing need. We should be investing in these programs to ensure our seniors have the nutritious meals they need to remain healthy and independent.”

I reject sending arms on the grounds that it’s unconscionable to spend money arming a disparate rebellion in a far-off country while we have Americans suffering the effects of sequester cuts. Yeah, I know it sounds horrible because people are dying in Syria, but I’m unconvinced arming the rebels will change that. And I know we can’t afford it, at least not until we can afford to take care of our own.

Until we end the sequester cuts to programs like housing, education, health care, and food, we cannot spend money arming rebels in another country.

Syrian rebel army patrol an area near Homs - photo by Freedom House

/ photo by Freedom House

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