Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Re: Where America is most vulnerable and how to make us safe
Sometimes Washington and the Pentagon get so isolated in their ivory towers that they fail to notice things that we average Americans pick up on right away. I am your typical American budget-strapped church-going working mom and even I have noticed the following weaknesses in our country's defense system:

Where is America most vulnerable to terrorist attack? And how can we best protect ourselves? To find the answer to this vital question, let's go do some research: Go to any Walmart and turn over the teacups, tabulate the toy selection, total up the tablespoons and test the towels. How many items on sale in these stores are made in Taiwan, Thailand, Tierra Del Fuego or Tijuana? A lot. Conversely, how many items are made in Tulsa or Tucson or Tacoma? Practically zip.

Then go to your nearest Safeway and check out how much of the food sold there is imported: Sirloin, salmon, strawberries, string beans, syrah, spaghetti -- to name a few.

Then ask your gas station attendant where our gas comes from. The answer? Places like Kuwait, Central Asia, Caracus, the Caspian Sea and Kazakhstan.

Then check out where your cars, cameras, cell phones, computers, coffee and chocolate come from -- off-shore. Chile, Korea, Columbia, Cameroon, Calcutta and China for starters. Washington's so-called "free trade" and "globalization" policies are making America extremely vulnerable.

Almost everything that Americans use, buy or own comes from off-shore. If anything should ever happen to our ships or our docks, we'd be completely crippled. Crazy fundamentalists in Cessnas dropping Coke bottles filled with Kryptonite could take out our oil tankers and container vessels easy as pie -- it could be done with very little money. For instance, Timothy McVeigh took out a federal building with a rent-a-truck.

Can we really defend the entire Atlantic ocean and Pacific ocean 24/7? I think not.

Of course America's knee-jerk reaction to this impending threat will be to triple the size of our military (where will they get the poor grunts to serve in it? Off-shore of course!), have F-16's sweep every gallon of every ocean night and day and spend billions of dollars more on defense. "More defense! More defense!" I can hear our fearless leaders recite. That, and "War creates more jobs!"

But the military bomb-everything-to-bits approach is bound to fail because it is unsustainable, untenable, ineffective and wasteful of resources (not to mention dangerous). What we need to do is stop thinking like killing machines and start thinking like Americans! Americans are problem-solvers extraordinaire. Surely we can come up with something better. For starters, let's start growing our own food, manufacturing our own goods and cutting down on the need for foreign oil by investing in solar power, etc. We would be a lot safer.

Plus Americans would suddenly become completely employed. And we would be doing HONEST work. Making our income from building bombs is dirty work at best and immoral and ineffective at worst. IT'S TIME AMERICA STARTED PRODUCING PRODUCTS THAT WE CAN BE PROUD OF.