109 I READ JUST RECENTLY THAT OUR SPENDING IN AFGHANISTAN HAS CROSSED THE $800 BILLION MARK SINCE WE INVADED IN 2002 InnovativeHealthMag.com Europe. It is revered today as one of the most successful international projects we have ever initiated. It consisted of $13 billion dollars (about $130 billion in today’s money) spent from 1948 to 1952. Most of that money went to our allies in the war, Great Britain and France, but 11% of it went to a defeated and destroyed Germany. So, yes, Germany received a welcome “jump start” from the United States, but the rebuilding that we see there today is mostly a credit to the German people. They have determinedly and resolutely rebuilt their nation. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 to much relieved celebration, but East Berlin was a neglected and dilapidated section of the city. There was no Marshall Plan for East Berlin and what little surplus the former Communist regime generated went into maintaining the Wall. But my brother and I spent much time walking around the former East Berlin and the reconstruction there in the last 25 years is most impressive. In fact, it is ongoing. I don’t think I have ever visited a city with so many construction cranes all over the place. I finally told my brother that I didn’t think I could take a picture of Berlin without a construction crane in the background. I read just recently that our spending in Afghanistan has crossed the $800 billion mark since we invaded in 2002. We hear so much about the lack of accomplishment in Washington D.C. because Congress is so polarized. But that isn’t true when it comes to spending money in Afghanistan. Every vote for every dime we have spent over there was bipartisan. We did it under Republican President Bush and Democratic President Obama. Some of the funding bills were rushed through Congress in a matter of weeks because of the military urgency. Today the country is in shambles, opium production is at record highs, the Taliban rules the place when the sun goes down, and the Afghan army can still barely stand and fight. I challenge anyone in the continental United State to tell us what we have gained for this overwhelmingly bipartisan expenditure. Now let us return to our home community, Flint. Can we help our own people? Can we find the determined resolution the Germans have had to rebuild their country? Can we find a fraction of the funds we have poured down the bottomless pit in Afghanistan to accomplish this task? An expenditure of $150 million dollars has been proposed by Michigan’s United States senators to initiate the rebuilding of Flint. It would be a good start. Let’s rebuild the horribly outdated water system, yes, but let’s tear down the abandoned homes all over the place, put parks in their place, put up modern affordable housing, build new innovative schools for our children, train and employ Americans in Genesee County and show the world that the United States can rebuild, too. Use Flint as a model community for innumerable other cities across this country that have been punished and neglected by economic policies in the last few decades. $150 million dollars to start the process in Flint is 0.19% of what we have spent in Afghanistan since 2002. So how is this proposal for Flint faring in Congress? Bogged down, we are told, in inter-party bickering, lost in our political polarization. Where is the bipartisanship we have found again and again for Afghanistan? Can this government function for our own people? Of course it can. Will it? Don’t hold your breath.
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