Sunday, August 30, 2009

Six Years Ago, I Knew. I Don't Know Why It Was A Mystery To So Many Others

I've had my current email address for over a decade now, and sometimes I like to take a walk down memory lane and read old emails I sent and received. I stumbled across this email dated February 23, 2003, and I thought I'd share it with you:

All I know is that this is a scary time. I don't know why we are so bent on starting a war. It seems like he is not doing anything wrong. We only guess that he has nerve gases. We have no real proof other than a couple of satellite photos that don't tell you anything. Saddam said it; Bush will start this war whether or not he complies with the UN. Bush is actually pushing Saddam to do something. Someone needs to assassinate him. lol. I'm not even kidding. I hope someone shoots Bush. This is ridiculous. Our country looks so bad right now because of him and his stupid Iraq policy. So what if Iraq has connections to Al Queda. So does every single country in the world that has Arabs in it. For god's sake, we're probably financing Al Queda without even knowing it. I don't understand any of this. Saddam hasn't done anything in over 10 years. He hasn't attacked anyone. Hasn't threatened anyone. Hasn't done a damn thing, and now all of a sudden we are starting a war with him. We, the US, are starting a war. The world's policeman is turning into the world's bully. We're supposed to stand for peace, but we're starting war on a country that hasn't done anything to anyone in over 10 years. Meanwhile, N Korea is over there threatening everyone with nuclear weapons and we ignore them. I don't see the sense in that. We attack the country that is under such close scrutiny right now that they couldn't attack anyone if they wanted to, but N Korea, a country that no one can even get into, is allowed to make nuclear weapons and threaten us. We're spending trillions of dollars on this stupid war, and at home, everyone is losing their jobs. How exactly is he making the world better again??? The economy is the worst its been in probably 15-20 years. Our war policies are looking exactly like the Vietnam war policies. We're going after a bunch of ghosts. The threat just doesn't exist... at least not to the point that he is making it seem. If we drop this whole war idea, Saddam is not gonna bomb us tomorrow. The whole thing is just stupid, and of course it's perpetuated by the biggest moron to ever lead a country in all of history.

Remember... This was from February 23, 2003. It was a full month before we invaded Iraq (which a quick wikipedia search tells me was March 20, 2003). I was barely 21 years old at the time. To say I was naive and inexperienced would be an understatement. However, I somehow knew what the President, his cabinet, his advisers, Congress, and about 50% of the population of our country did not. Could everyone really have been that stupid?

This is why I have very little faith in humanity. This is why I stay home by myself on most days instead of going out and mingling with the rest of the world. It just seems that ever since 2000 (and I only go back that far because that's when I started to pay attention), when given a choice, we always make the wrong decision.

In 2000, it was Bush vs. Gore. I'm pretty sure everyone in the country knew that Gore was smarter, more politically experienced, and more knowledgeable on foreign affairs than Bush. However, gosh, we just didn't like the way Gore sighed at Bush's stupidity in that first debate. In addition, Bush seemed like a guy we'd like to have over for a barbeque, and that's clearly the most important attribute of a potential President of The United States.

We go to war with Iraq in 2003... for no reason whatsoever. We stay in Iraq for over 6 years (and counting) because we wouldn't want to leave until "mission accomplished." Of course, when there was a never a point to begin with, it's hard to accomplish anything.

In 2004, we re-elect Bush despite the fact that the economy tanked, he unapologetically gave every single break imaginable to the wealthiest 1%, and started a war for no reason with no intentions of ever stopping it. Meanwhile, Republicans somehow made John Kerry's military service and awards look like a bad thing, and they coined him as the "flip-flopper" because he actually took his time and reasoned out his decisions instead of just being "the decider" and acting quickly regardless of the facts.

We finally did something right in 2008 when we elected Obama. This was a man running on an agenda of "change" and "hope." He was a progressive democrat who promised to bring about the changes this country desperately needed. Of course, when he got into office and started drafting policies to enact this change, people stepped back and said, "Whoa... I thought that "change" he kept talking about was just beautiful sounding rhetoric. I didn't know he really wanted to change things!"

Thus, we're now in a situation where Obama can't get nationalized health care passed because even the democrats (who are taking just as many campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical and insurance companies as republicans) don't want to rock the boat and possibly upset the shareholders of Aetna, Cigna, United Health Care, or any of those other altruistic corporations. Now, instead of getting a system along the lines of EVERY OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY, we'll have to settle for Co-ops, which are run by the very corporations that were the problem to begin with.

I wish I could say I have hope for our nation and our planet, but I don't. People are too stupid and too easily fooled. When a 21 year-old kid, who's biggest daily concern was which dining hall to eat at, is able to predict the outcome of what turned out to be possibly our country's biggest foreign policy blunder ever, it doesn't say much about the people who are actually in charge.


PharmacyJim said...

Mike, I will certainly acknowledge mistakes were made, but the one question I go back to is this: Did the Bush administration, with intel from the CIA and other national security agencies, believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? My answer is yes...btw, so did many of Bush's political enemies. The intel was wrong, and there are many things I can criticize the previous administration for (the borders of this country, for example), but doing everything they thought necessary to prevent another 911 type attack on our country is NOT one of them. I realize my opinion may be in the minority, but I don't care. I am thankful we have had no more attacks on this country, and pray the Obama administration can continue this. Our country's national security, is in my opinion, one of the mandates of the constitution....nationalizing our health care, whether it's a good idea or a bad idea, is not mandated by that same constitution.

Pharmacy Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pharmacy Mike said...

You proved my point exactly.

I was 21 years old, and I KNEW they didn't have them. How can I feel confident in this country if, without "intel," I could make the correct decision when all the supposed "experts" couldn't?

Moreover, you can't fight a war on terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. It would be like fighting a war against car bombing. The idea that we're somehow disrupting terrorist organizations by invading other countries is stupid. September 11 was masterminded by a dozen guys working out of an apartment. You can't fight a war against that. You take preventative measures, such as tightening our airport security, to try to make sure it doesn't happen again. However, you can't fight an attack like 9/11 by invading another country.

Once again... I know this, but there are still a lot of people out there that don't realize this. This is all common sense to me.

PharmacyJim said...

Mike, you didn't KNOW this...but you turned out to be right. This clown had used chemical weapons on his own people, for crying out loud.

As far as preventative measures, I agree. But even that sometimes is not enough. My concern is that no matter how much we try, we MAY not be able to prevent another attack. That does not mean we do not try everything within our power to prevent it. I'm glad it is common sense and simple to you. My guess is that that the Obama administration has found out just how difficult it is to manage the threats against this country, as opposed to criticism of the previous administration that was prevalent during the campaign....and that is not a knock on Obama, because campaigning is always easier than governing.

Anyway, you and I see it differently. The fact that we can disagree, without being disagreeable, is good. A rational discussion of ideas and policy is good for a republic.

Anonymous said...

Before getting too far off topic, it'd be quite fair to point out that in our government there are three branches, which can serve as a cohesive set of checks and balances, especially with an intelligent and thoughtful citizenry. In the Preamble, which according to Wikepedia itself does not confer power, we are given an idea of why our founding fathers wanted to set up the Republic... 'We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'

I would say that from our pharmacy school education, as in formation of a professional's opinion, we take the spirit of the document, or the intent of what we are attempting to convey as the real reason for expression. This Preamble is mandate enough for me as a pharmacist to opt for promoting a public option for health care reform. Because of our informed opinions, pharmacists have a duty to provide input into public health decision debate.

We know that there are a great many of our patients already without sufficient means to cover costs of health care, preventative or for treatment. We know that costs for caring for those of us without the present system of insurance goes up mercilessly and unremittingly every year without input of citizens. We know that promoting public welfare by ensuring adequate health care ts one of society, and impacts the fabric of all aspects of families and communities.

We know that the insurance industry represents a section of our society for which the common man has no recourse to defy when we are told--costs WILL go up and benefits lessen, providers will only be paid a certain set fee as defined by the insurance company, workers are only eligible if fitting into the programs' categories, yet pre-existing conditions make one ineligible for what is provided for other workers in the company, and there is no decent option of self-run health insurance programs.

We in health care know the effects on our daily job having to make so many calls to insurance companies that it interferes with our 5-6 year training to assist patients in drug therapeutic regimens, the rampant drug-seekers going from doc to doc, possibly part of the constantly recurring admissions to the ER for inadequately follow-up treatment, games that drug manufacturers play for billions and billions of government subsidization e.g. 'me-too' drugs, ploys to extend patents and come up with something 'original', such as in situations wherein the most expensive drug world-wide erythropoetin plays around with its indication, and when that's not enough Medicare reimbursment, comes up with a higher effective hemoglobin level in its package insert.

We as pharmacists tsk, tsk over increasing emergence of resistance of antibiotics to common pathogens such as Staph. aureus in our more populated cities because of inadequately treated infections and availability of free and inappropriately prescribed antibiotics. Yet, do we see insurance companies promotion of Healthy Nation 2010 and beyond with providing incentives to vaccinate small children from an early age against pneumococcal disease?

Insurance companies are NOT going to do anything out of the benefit for the citizenry because they are only beholden to the wealthy stockholders in their companies, not in promotion of welfare of our country.

The only 'agency' in our country large enough to 'take on' reform for all, is that national government.

At this time, we as pharmacists have a real opportunity to provide input and promote support of a healthcare option affordable to the vast majority of citizens.

Pharmacy Mike said...

What exactly is "everything within our power?"

That seems to be the idea that a lot of people can't grasp. Does "everything within our power" include invading other countries? Does it include torture and holding without trial those who we deem potential terrorists? Where does "within our power" end?

See... I disagree with doing "everything within our power" on the basis of it's impossible to stop terrorism. If someone wants to suicide bomb a bunch of people, they'll do it, and there's not much anyone can do to stop it. If someone is really intent on hijacking a plane, even with the increased security, it can be done.

I'm an advocate for taking reasonable measures to prevent an attack on our people. Reasonable measures acknowledge that there will always be a risk of an attack, but we'll do what we can to strengthen our boarders, increase our security, and improve our intelligence so that we might be able to decrease that risk.

Anonymous said...

Reasonable power includes the serious consideration and contribution of input from those of us adequately trained and on the front lines day in and day out.

That is, with adequate information about what is going on, contributions from reasonable and fair-minded pharmacists help form the basis of opinion of what is needed in the health reform debate. We deal with money matters every day, but our professional ethic is on the other side of providing a busines model, in doing the best or our patients, not the Sanofi, GSK, or Mallinkrodt stockholders.

Providing input from pharmacists among other front-line professionals is only reasonable.

Pharmacy Mike said...

I agree with what you said.

My comment was directed at PharmacyJim.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you weren't alone. You, me, and hundreds of thousands of Americans were disgusted with Bush after his first attempt. Gore lost because Bush owned the Supreme Court. Bush threw Colin Powell under the bus by ordering him to present false evidence of "Saddam's WMDs" to the UN. Bush's resulting war and occupation of Iraq were beyond Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda's wildest dreams. OK, it's not flying large commercial aircraft into large buildings, but when Osama & Co compelled a good ol' village idiot from Crawford TX and his shambolic VP (who stood to benefit enormously from the deal) to - perhaps unwittingly- wreak economic terrorism on their own country along with much of the developed world. In the meantime, half of the US populace thought "all this Bush-sh!t is dawgone good, I ain't gonna be votin' for some n-word who's jes' gonna change things".

Senator Max Baucus is the health care industry's shill, and should not be permitted to sit on any committee dealing with health care policy/finance, since the industry is his chief source of funding.

Nationalize every health insurance company, regulate them into not for profit businesses and have them offer everyone standardized plans. I am tired of the moronic masses railing against socialized health care. Take away their Medicare and VA benefits, since those programs are the very models of what they are complaining against.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I agree with you, I still can't believe the Iraq war was allowed to happen. Unfortunately it was a perfect storm --- a clueless President prodded by special interests and a very scared and skittish population after 9/11. We needed wisdom and a clear plan at that time, not to mention some shared sacrifice and strict adherence to our own values. We didn't get any of those things.
Terrorism IS a tactic, and a law enforcement issue. Bin Laden (who considered Saddam an 'infidel'!) is still out there and probably will never be brought to justice.

Pacific Beach Allstar said...

This is unimportant, but I will state it. Do not delete my post until you have read it, please.

Saddam's regime actually had WMDs of sorts--not nukes or massive payloads of biological weapons--and they were discovered by the United States Marines in 2004. Nerve gas and various chemical weapons were discovered, accordign to Marines I met here in San Diego.

Before you delete my post, wait.

I am not a Republicon, I disagree with both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, which were morally and legally unjust no matter what was discovered. There was no need to invade, especially on the issue of weaponry considering every nation has the right to possess arms of any potency, especially in today's geopolitical climate.

While training with the USMC in Camp Pendleton in 2004-2005, I spoke to several Marine officers about the nature of the war and why I wanted to bail on the Navy. I mentioned that there were no WMDs. And a few good men said:

"We actually found muntions, nerve gas and rockets with the capability to deliver large volumes of nerve gas. Some were outdated pre-Gulf War munitions, some were more modern".

It doesn't matter one way or the other, and I am no proponent of this war nor our sister campaign in Afghanistan. But it was interesting to hear. And the munitions discovered were probably from the USA anyway.

Pharmacy Mike said...

I don't delete posts that at least attempt to make a valid point. These comments are not meant to be filtered as to only show people who agree with me.