Dear Mr. President,
Representative Alan Grayson is proposing The War Is Making You Poor Act, which would redirect funding from Afghanistan and Iraq to relieve the income tax burden on incomes up to $35,000. I didn't end up paying taxes this year. War isn't making me poor, Mr. President. War is making me ashamed of my country. War is making me less free, less educated and less safe. War is making me afraid. These things are OK, though, because war is making other people much worse, it is making them sick and homeless and crazy and dead. War is making is making people so many things that are even worse than poor. I'm with Mr. Grayson, in that I think our national priorities are defined by our spending and that our spending indicates we value death, destruction and oppression. I think defunding these disasters is a great idea, but, instead of tax cuts, let's spend this money improving education, improving care and benefits for our veterans, strengthening domestic law enforcement and investing in clean energy. You see, taxes aren't making me poor, either.
I think Grayson's bill, even if I think the money could be better spent elsewhere, is something that deserves debate and serious attention in the House; sadly, it is unlikely to be treated as anything more than a stunt. The inertia of our foreign policy, especially as it is inherited by one party from its ideological opponents, makes established conflicts seem inevitable. We're there, so now we have to think in small, strategic steps. We have to finish what we came to do, to sew up the wounds left by our clumsy surgery and hope we're able to revive the patient without too much brain damage. But I don't think this is an apt metaphor. I don't believe the havoc we've brought to these countries is going to help them, or keep us safer. I don't think that you believe this either. You were right to oppose the war in 2003 and you have promised us a foreign policy that represents our values. So, instead of spending another year tied to these wars, strangling our national budget and staining our reputation darker each day, let's get out, right now. The world does not always have to change so slowly.
Mr. President, I support this bill. In my case, that requires nothing extraordinary. For you, even to ask that it be seriously debated would require the kind of courage politicians usually can't seem to locate. I understand this, but I hope you find it anyway.