According to a recent AP report, the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan in January and February of 2010 is, well, one a day. That’s a 100 percent increase compared to the same time period last year. It’s a lot. And it’s going to get worse as more troops continue to surge in. The number of wounded during the same two months of both years has increased 350 percent from 85 to 381. The total number of wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq over the course of these wards so far is about 35,000. It’s a horrific number but the number doesn’t begin to convey the horror that the human wreckage of these conflicts, and their families, must live with. It tears them apart. And it’s a story that’s playing out too quietly and too tragically across the country.
Winston Churchill once said that Americans always do the right thing — after they’ve exhausted all other possibilities. Thus, we find ourselves at a historical moment, when, against great odds considering the toxic political and cultural atmosphere in this country now, we’ve managed to pass health-care reform. That it’s historical says more about how far the bar for sane policy has been lowered in this country than about how great this legislation is. It’s not completely curmudgeonly to say the best thing about it is that it’s better than nothing. It does extend basic health care to most Americans and it does reign in a good bit of the malfeasance of insurance companies, etc. But it’s far what sanity would dictate, or what we really deserve — which is, of course, a public option. Still, given the insanity of the times, something that is on constant display from the inchoate and increasingly frightening mobs getting frothed up beyond comprehension — only in idiot America would people get violent over not being picked apart like carrion by the health industry vultures — it’s a minor miracle.
Like just about everyone else, I’m finding it hard to resist commenting on healthcare reform, the passing of which is causing hysteria among certain segments of the population. For the sake of brevity, I’ll call them the idiots, the willfully ignorant, the fundamentalists.
Hi, everyone… or anyone. Welcome back to my blog. Someone out there may remember I had a blog of the same name while I was at the LA Weekly, which, along with most of the paper’s history, at least the good parts, has been disappeared. Oh, well. C’est la vie.