President Bush has asked Congress for $72.4 billion to fund
the “Global War on Terror” through fiscal year 2006. About
$65 billion will go toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
bringing total spending for the two wars to nearly $400
billion. That’s a lot of money, folks, almost $1,000 for
every man, woman, child, dog, cat and goldfish in America.

I can’t fathom spending $400 billion on two wars. I mean,
wouldn’t it be cheaper to just send Dick Cheney over there?
The vice president is surely embarrassed about shooting his
friend while quail hunting and eager for a chance to redeem
himself. Drop him in the war zone, I say. You might be
surprised what a man with motivation can do.

General: “Mr. Vice President, how did you do today?”

Cheney: “Pretty good. I’m all out of ammunition.”

General: “Great! What did you shoot?”

Cheney: “Forty-five targets, including 23 barns, 15 sheds
and seven trees.”

General: “Good. I’ll add them to the enemy casualty list.
But what about the insurgents? Did you get any of them?”

Cheney: “No, as soon as they saw me, the insurgents turned
into outsurgents. They started running in all directions,
yelling something like, ‘It’s the crazy guy who shot his
friend. Imagine what he’ll do to us.’ I tried firing at
them, but those darn barns kept getting in the way. The
sheds and trees, too.”

General: “Well, you’ll do better tomorrow, I’m sure.”

Cheney: “I hope so. If I keep hitting worthless objects,
how’s my firm going to get another rebuilding contract?”

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea to send Cheney
to Iraq. He can be far more useful in America, especially if
he helps explain where all the money is going. According to
a White House press release, “The President is committed to
giving our troops and commanders in the field the resources
they need to fight and win the War on Terror.” I don’t know
about you, but I’m looking forward to the day when President
Bush can declare victory over terror. I’m going to be so
elated when I see the New York Times headline that says,
“Terror surrenders, war over.” But I can’t help thinking
that America can terrorize terror into submission without
spending so much money. Here are just a few suggestions:

—Put democracy to work. Bush needs to get on the phone
with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and others: “We’re
bringing democracy to Iraq and if you don’t start helping us
with the costs, we’ll bring it to you too.” I mean, what
good is democracy if you can’t threaten people with it?

—Create a real coalition. America sent 130,000 soldiers to
Iraq, while Kazakhstan sent a dozen nightclub bouncers.
Bush allowed Mexico to get away with sending not a single
soldier, though he could have easily rounded up a platoon on
a street corner in L.A.

—Check the math. When you spend $400 billion, you can
afford to hire a few auditors to make sure no one is getting
rich off the war, except those approved by the president.

I wish some of the soldiers were getting rich, because many
of them come from poor families. Rich kids don’t go to
war — they go to Congress. And they never know what it’s
like to be in a war, never know what it’s like to be shot
at, except of course when they go hunting with Cheney.

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