Letter to the Editor: Yes to education not to war
With so many of our service men fighting in Iraq certainly our support for the troops in that foreign country is unwavering. Those responsible for the Great American Picnic, "Rally Round the Troops," staged at the Price City Peace Garden are to be applauded. It is a small way of showing our appreciation for the soldiers, sailors and marines in harms way.
Meanwhile it would be well to heed the words of retired newscaster Walter Cronkite as he spoke to the general session of the National School Boards Convention in San Francisco last week. The distinguished Cronkite, voted the "most trusted man in America," said the United States cannot afford this war and it will lead to deficits in the federal budget through the end of the coming century.
"Our grandchildren's grandchildren will be paying for this war," he stated. " He called the invasion a "terrible, terrible, tragedy," but noted that he supported the troops. "In a few years we're not going to have money to pay the federal payroll. We'll do what poor countries do, print money," calling that trend a sure path to inflation and economic collapse.
Cronkite said spending billions on war machinery and war itself seems to be a step back from a long national quest to create viable international institutions that obviate the need for military solutions.
"Think about how many schools could be built with the billions being consumed by the war," he told the audience.
Cronkrite went on to say while President George W. Bush laid out a "perfectly reasonable argument" for international intervention, "He sent the wrong message to the world when he said "It doesn't matter if you go along with us or not."
According to Cronkite the United Nations was formed as an embodiment of the "great hope we have for eternal peace" and that by acting unilaterally, the United States has squandered international relationships.
Cronkite ridiculed the reference to a "coalition of nations involved," saying it is much less than a true coalition. "It's an alliance of the U.S., Britain and Bulgaria, while 40 other nations are claimed as members. But have you heard anything in the last few weeks about any of them having even an observer in Iraq?" he asked.
Cronkite admonished education for failing to uphold democracy by not producing enough citizens interested in participating in the political process.
"That less than 50 percent of the people vote in presidential elections is a danger to democracy," he said. "We don't have a democracy, we've got an oligarchy of the educated and informed. It's not the fault of the educators, but rather a fault of the funding we give education. It's time for government to raise taxes, not cut them."
Reflecting on the past Cronkite said the most joyous story he ever covered in his journalism career was man's walk on the moon.
The saddest was reporting that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas.