More Bang for Your Buck
promoted by false information and ignore debating the real issue, which is this:
Why are we determined to follow a foreign policy of empire building and preemption,
which is unbecoming of a constitutional republic?
--Ron Paul (R-TX)
''The Marlboro man was angry: He has a war to fight, and he's running out of smokes.
"'If you want to write something," [20-yr-old Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller] tells an intruding reporter, 'tell Marlboro I'm down to four packs, and I'm here in Fallujah till who knows when. Maybe they can send some. And they can bring down the price a bit.'"
If iconic Lance Cpl. Miller continues his habit, he'll have more than the after-effects of war to deal with. It's as good a way as any to start another installment in our FDA-Iraq linkages series.
A government advisory panel, the Institute of Medicine, called on Congress last week to "reduce the health burden of tobacco, which kills 490,000 Americans a year" by allowing the FDA free rein to regulate all aspects of cigarettes and tobacco ("FDA Should Aggressively Regulate Tobacco".)
"The report's authors say tobacco is a unique product, because it kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicides, suicides, car accidents and fires combined. Almost half of the USA's 44.5 million adult smokers will die prematurely of a tobacco-related illness if they don't stop. About 21% of adults now smoke.
A unique product indeed. Did you get that? And that number of deaths is hundreds of thousands of times greater than the 3,000 victims of 9-11. Most estimates indicate 440,000+ Americans die annually from tobacco-related diseases; secondhand smoke kills another 50,000 ("Ending Our Tobacco Addiction,")
With this egregious mortality rate being inflicted upon good Americans, will the U.S. initiate a bombing campaign against Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina? Perhaps a crop-eradication program, based on the poppy annihilation in Afghanistan, or Coca eradication in Latin America.
Maybe we should be laying more subsidies on the tobacco growers, and dumping pallets of cut-rate Marlboros at the bazaars. Perhaps the current U.S. administration will increase tobacco-related cancer and cardiovascular -related disease research?
It looks like we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year supposedly fighting no more than 5,000 Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seems strange that medical research doesn't get such funding priorities.
If you do it by the numbers, you'd get more bang for your buck solving known endemic medical blights than you would on a goose chase for potentially lethal targets. Heart disease will kill you just as assuredly as a potential terrorist attack. Percentage-wise it is the risk to bet on, and the costs--both in long-term care and human suffering--trump the latter scenario.
It seems that U.S. tax dollars are always available to kill people, but the funds for life-saving research are dear. No funds for stem-cell research, but building better bombs is always well-funded.
In 1971, President Nixon requested $100 million to be added to the NCI budget for cancer research, declaring a War on Cancer. He was answering a call from an organized electorate, who wanted the second deadliest killer stopped. In October 1971, he converted the Army's Fort Detrick, Maryland, biological warfare facility to a cancer (Now AIDS and cancer) research center.
When he signed the National Cancer Act into law on December 23, 1971, he said, "I hope in the years ahead we will look back on this action today as the most significant action taken during my Administration." Though a cure remains elusive, much progress has been made, and that is a worthy legacy.
This administration shows no such will today with it's retrograde stance on stem cell research and crony entitlement programs.
Just like violence, war and killing, another major export of America is the cigarette. Exporting the death stick is a fine subversive marketing technique. It's the American way.
--by Lisa and Jim