Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, March 06, 2015

PTS? Where’s the “D”?



U.S. Army retired General Peter Chiarelli (A Bad gap in vet’s care” WPost 3-6-15) correctly highlights that “post-traumatic stress (PTS) is “one of the greatest causes of casualties in our recent wars.”  He doesn’t state, but I’m guessing he would agree, that the source and the harmful consequences of recent wars is not going to change anytime soon.
General Chairelli also correctly identified the weak or imaginary link between Congress, DOD and the VA that causes this damaging and too often lethal failure to “harmonize their drug formularies”. 
I believe the greater blame for this unacceptable loss of American service member’s lives and competent medical attention should actually go to a mental flaw in our basic government structure.  Our Constitution is based on a mythical ideal of ‘independence’.  A myth that is fostered by our human perception that we are separate from one another…when in reality we are all interdependent on each other, our government, it’s agencies, and the natural, economic and social environment  around us all (the earth we call home).
After 9-11 our nation combined 22 independent federal agencies to form the Department of Homeland Security essentially acknowledging this failure of independent agencies to address the terrorist threat then.  Unfortunately, it was identified as a clear threat six months earlier by a bi-partisan Presidential Commission on National Security in the 21st Century that unanimously warned US policy makers that terrorism was our nation’s number one threat.  One of the Commissions key recommendations was creating such a sweeping department by consolidating a number of federal agencies in hopes of eliminating the restrictive procedural wall between vital agencies that could prove fatal. 
After the first Gulf War in the 1990s General Anthony Zinni, former Marine Corp Commander said the US military learned it needed to “federate” its air, land, sea, space and intelligence forces to more effectively operate in that theater.   A stunning win there however unfortunately didn’t end our Iraqi problem which eventually led to other far greater problems.
The common theme here is the value of properly understanding the links between things we formally believed were ‘independent’ in both our local and global theaters.
The post 9-11 the Global War Against Terrorism thrust into our faces the inevitable trade off we are forced to make in confronting nearly every threat  we face today… Do we trade our freedoms for security?  Or, security for our freedoms?  
I assert this is a false choice.  But, unfortunately a realistic choice, given that we have forced ourselves to believe in an illusion of ‘independence’ and maintain government structures based on this flawed mental construct.   And, most dangerously, we cling to this political system that refuses to accept the interconnectedness of our real world – a global interconnectedness that is accelerating with each breakthrough in bio, cyber, nano and even conventional technology.     
IED’s and suicide bombers, our enemies weapons of choice that are responsible for most of our soldiers deaths, physical injuries and PTS.  These are powerful examples of what just conventional technologies bring in destructive power.  Imagine how our world will change in lost freedoms and security when our adversaries turn to biological or cyber weapons of mass death and disruption.  A nuclear threat is the least of our worries.  It would most likely carry a return address.  Bio and cyber WMD are far less likely to make deterrence a effective policy.  
The wisest choice we could make, and we need to make it soon given the unimaginable killing capacity now saturating the world in the form of dual-use technologies, is a federation of nations.
We now have a confederation of nations we call the UN.   It is powerless and resource poor to prevent or effectively address the array of threats we now read about every day.   Our interconnected and interdependent world needs a form of government that puts the protection of human rights and the sustainability of our essential life support system above the rights of independent nations to do as they please.
Such an institution would take into account the interdependence of all humanity and reverse our national leader’s inability to stop terrorism, the risks of climate change, WMD proliferation, pandemics or global economic instability…just to name the more obvious threats we face to our freedoms, security and prosperity.    
What is missing in the world is the “D”.   The General’s missing D was “disorder”.  The D that would bring more order is Democracy.   “We the people’ of the world need to be represented on the global level to deal with the global issues that now threaten our freedoms and our security.   
A Democratic World Federation, where the will of “we the people” is put above the will of individual leaders of democratic or undemocratic nation states, corporate entities, or violent religious cults won’t be easy.  But, until we get this inherent flaw in our mind and political system fixed far more US soldiers and innocent Americans will die or be disabled as a result of PTS, IEDS, and the actions of independent agencies and nations.   Our collective incapacity to accept our interdependence and outlaw war and the human injustices that most often spark it need to be addressed quickly.   Time is not on our side.
Chuck Woolery
Fellow, World Federalist Institute
(the views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author and not necessarily the views of WFI)
240-997-2209  chuck@igc.org
Blog: Dothefreakinmath http://dothefreakinmath.blogspot.com
Issue Website: www.thetrilemma.org
“Science is my passion, politics my duty.”  Thomas Jefferson

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."    -- George Washington   (1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'

"A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular,
and what no just government should to rest on inference." -- Thomas Jefferson 

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