awkwardly

Wednesday

Everybody stay calm, no sudden moves, just vote for Bush and nobody gets hurt.

Dick Cheney on Sept. 7, 2004: "We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."

A crucial detail in understanding this statement by Dick Cheney is what he means by the phrase "from the standpoint of the United States." He means the standpoint of people who matter in the United States. As far as he's concerned, that would include people who own substantial things, people who donate substantial amounts to politicians. By the way they talk and act, you can deduce that Republicans really, really do not care about lesser people, or else they would not be so busy redistributing wealth upwards to people who are already fabulously well to-do.

Another terrorist attack would be devastating to the stock market and to people who can afford to dabble in it. At least if the Bush administration is in power, consumer confidence will rebound when we attack some irrelevant nation like Iran or Sudan as "retaliation". Then the people who matter to Cheney will be protected from financial hardship.

The number of people who die in a terrorist attack are not devastating "from the standpoint of the United States" (that is, from the standpoint of people wealthy enough to matter). Because if it made any difference how many lives were lost, we could save hundreds of times more lives by providing adequate health care to our own citizens. After raising the child mortality rate to a level that would be competitive with industrial nations, we could spend a tiny portion of our wealth on drugs to prevent easily treatable diseases like malaria and diarrhea in children around the world, thousands of other preventable deaths each day that could be prevented for a few cents each.

So you can tell by their actions that money is what matters. The financial effect of terrorist attacks would be devastating, but human lives are nowhere in the equation.

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