On the Fast-Trax

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

An interesting revelation has taken place recently, which in my wildest dreams I never thought might happen: Senator Max Baucus and I are standing said-by-side on a major issue of concern.

I‘ve been saying for a long, long time that the war(?) in Afghanistan is nothing more than a gigantic fiasco and America needs to get out of there. Now, Montana’s senior senator has actually said, in real words, “…the simple fact is that the United States cannot afford to leave an unknown force on the ground in Afghanistan for an undefined period of time. Those resources could be put to better use here at home (Hooray Max!) – either rebuilding our infrastructure, creating jobs, paying down our national debt, or strengthening Social Security and Medicare.”  Yes, he said that.

Not only did he say that, the senator made it perfectly clear. He actually wrote a letter to our fearless leader, telling him in no uncertain words’ “it’s time to bring our troops home.” Go Max!

The cost of this war is rising by the second and costing this nation $525,237,500,854 a year. It has cost Montanans $914,078,000  (since 2001) and a small town like Belgrade $19,725,676 since 2001. The total costs of wars since 2001 is $2,285,956.000 and rising.

And for what? To help subsidize the Afghan opium fields. Up grade a little infrastructure and build a school or two, not to mention the building of a home in Switzerland for their president, who doesn’t like us anyway, but happily takes the almighty American dollar.

Meanwhile the House chose to cut $6.7 billion from the bill that funds Senior Corps which means over 500,000 hot meals in our state may not get delivered (Meals on Wheels).

Meals on Wheels makes sure that seniors get at least one hot meal a day, many times this being their only meal.

Nevertheless, the gigantic defense industry is protected from cuts in the Budget Control Act, helping Jon (Tester) or Denny (Rehberg) get elected into office.

Come on gentlemen, explain why a senior citizen will not get a Meal on Wheels while you take our tax dollars to subsidize a war where we aren’t wanted.

Explain why funding for Foster Grandparents who mentor school children is being cut.

Tell us why funding for the Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP), a program that helps meet community needs will go by the wayside.

After more than a decade, we need to bring our troops – and our focus — back home. Max is so right.

It’s time for the Afghan people to take responsibility for their future so that we can take responsibility for ours.