Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Simple Proposal

Corruption in government--it's such an old and time-honored partnership that the very phrase government corruption has become a well-worn cliche. As Americans, we've come to expect a certain level of corruption when it comes to public officials in Washington.

This Republican Administration, however, has carried the level of brazen corruption to such jaw-dropping, dizzying heights--and the price of that corruption has become so high in terms of wasted treasure and squandered lives--that something structural really has to be done about it at this point.

Obviously, we can talk until we're blue in the face about campaign finance reform, and eliminating the money game from electoral politics. That's an enormous challenge, and one fraught with constitutional difficulties.

But when it comes to the fired attorneys case and the Walter Reed privatization case, the corruption is far more blatant. Usually, you see, corruption takes a little bit of work: special interest "X" gives you money for your campaign; you return the favor on the sly by giving handouts to special interest "X"; special interest "X" takes you on special junkets to keep your loyalty.

These assholes, on the other hand, don't even think they need to stoop to such effort. The corruption doesn't even happen in exchange for campaign contributions; it's a direct connection from policies of mass bloodshed to increased profits in their overly bloated personal bank accounts. The Republicans in this administration--from Cheney to Rumsfeld to everyone else--are content to own direct stock in companies that have direct interest in killing Americans, killing foreigners overseas, and letting our wounded veterans rot in substandard medical facilities. They literally make a DIRECT PROFIT from death and destruction, while they make decisions to lie the American people into creating even more death and destruction.

It's time to put an end to this. At least if they're going to be corrupt, force them to be corrupt in the form of kickbacks and graft. The taking of direct profits from the use of death-making institutions by those in control of the weapons of death is a moral outrage that screams out for immediate attention and eternal censure.

My proposal, therefore, is simple: DISALLOW ANY FEDERALLY ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICIAL FROM OWNING ANY INTEREST OR STAKE IN COMPANIES PROVIDING DEFENSE CONTRACTING OR MILITARY SUPPORT SERVICES TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. No exceptions. I would like, if I thought it constitutionally viable, to disbar any board members or high-level officials from a military contractor or support service from giving campaign contributions--but I don't think that would be possible.

But it's the very least we can do to try to stop in its tracks a military-industrial complex that is openly, brazenly bleeding us dry in more ways than we can count. It's time to end the madness. It's time that those in control of the dogs of war at least had to take an intermediary step if they want to be corrupt enough to unleash those dogs of war in their own economic self-interest. It's time to unhitch the profit caboose from the warmongering NeoCon train.

And in the wake of the upcoming Cerberus/Walter Reed scandal and the Cheney/Halliburton scandal, there's no time like the present.

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