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Friday, May 28, 2004

I suspect that John Ashcroft has more in mind than simply catching Al Queda suspects when he makes his now annual statement of summer terror warnings to start us off on the Memorial Day weekend. I wonder if perhaps the beating his boss is taking in the headlines isn’t some little morsel of motivation to grab ink? Ashcroft reminds everyone how vigilant and indulgent we must all be in support of efforts he can’t even mention to us, lest he have to kill us.

However, one thing I do agree with John Ashcroft on is that it’s high time the American people were given some credit for our ability to help win the war on terror. When Ashcroft stood up with FBI Director Mueller in front of pictures of seven suspects, he at least gave a nod to our role in helping.

Now, for some more serious help we might give:

1- A patriotic energy conservation program. We won the space race, why not the energy race?
2- Scholarships for students who contribute to learning new energy technologies to lead us forward to energy independence. Again, Americans flocked to university science departments in response to grant offers during the Cold War, why not now to meet our most pressing need?
3- First Responder grants to cities to fight the battle at home. Why not fund fully the efforts of cities like New York to steel our police officers, firefighters, and EMT’s?
4- Fully protect and begin moving away from dangerous nuclear power generation. We are most vulnerable at these homeland ready-made WMD sites.
5- Beef up Peace Corps programs abroad to spread the power of American ideals, not just American might. Give young Americans a way to contribute to the war on terror that isn’t at the barrel of a gun. And let’s give developing nations a reason to love American values.
6- Take up Thomas Friedman’s ideas mentioned yesterday to expand programs in embassy libraries abroad and encourage the purchase of hybrid cars at home.
7- Stop giving up huge amounts of our tax dollars to the filthy rich when we need money to fight this war. If this really is a national emergency to fight terror, isn’t it worth paying for?
8- Look to our allies for ways we can all cooperate to fight AIDS, poverty, and illiteracy in the developing world. The madrassas flourish where there is no real alternative educational opportunity, radical religious movements succeed where no logical hope exists. These are the serious long-term battles to win.
9- Offer our support to employ and occupy the minds of scientists abroad. If we want to keep WMD from being made for Al Queda and its future spawn, we need to offer work to employ the weapons-makers of today and tomorrow.
10- Re-fund the buyback of existing nuclear stockpiles abroad. These programs have been bizarrely abandoned in the post-9/11 world. Where will these stockpiles go if not bought and diffused?

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