LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - The elephant in the room

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There is an elephant in the room. It's big, it's growing, and no one wants to discuss its presence.

For Fiscal Year 2012 this elephant will chew, swallow and spit out from its behind a projected 22 percent of the national budget. If you were planning to go on safari and assail this elephant, I would urge you to reconsider.

If you attack the animal many locals will turn on you and ostracize you for being na?Øve, unpatriotic and even a communist. You would be a fool to even consider taking a pot shot and poach this animal. You will be apprehended, tried, and executed in the court of public opinion.

The elephant has a name. It goes by "the Department of Defense." With all of our hue and cry over unsustainable tax cuts, huge budget deficits and wondering what will happen economically, this elephant sits back and smiles knowing it is sacred and untouchable.

We may put it on a diet, but that will not satisfy its appetite, so we will feed it more and more. The base projected budget to feed this elephant is a mere $549 billion in 2012, but when you add on all the hidden costs needed for its care the price jumps to $861 billion.

That is the projected budget for only one year! Just one year! You tell me how this is sustainable and yet the Department of Education, the Department of Energy or the Environmental Protection Agency is not.

A report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states, "The wars and the Bush era tax cuts will create $7 trillion in deficits by 2019." When did we stop being a nation of idealists and become a nation of militants?

All I ask is that you think about what we would gain if we didn't feed the elephant so much. All I ask is that you think about what you lose by increasing the elephant's food budget.

The elephant doesn't provide health care, education or infrastructure. The elephant did not prevent the 9/11 attacks, did not prevent the Fort Hood attack and hasn't fixed Iraq or Afghanistan.

Even after a decade of trying, the Department of Defense has not made the world safe for democracy. The only thing that will make the world safe is the good will and compassion of the American people, not the barrel of a gun.

Paul Jensen
Milton-Freewater

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