Flow of Souvenirs ..., Reflections on Afghanistan ..., US Health Care Reform and Canada ...
William - The invasion of Afghanistan seems to me to have a rationale based on the following:-
1. A long term strategic need of America/the Western alliance to have/invent an enemy to justify arms production and sales.
2. A politically related component to 1 above, in that a general increase in the "fear factor" among the Western populace serves well the necessary political support for sustaining war economies.
3. An energy factor in running an oil pipeline across Afghanistan.
4. A geo-political component of ensuring that Russia does not have geo-political advantage over the US.
Add all of this together and you get an already devastated country, post-Soviet invasion, being yet further carpet bombed by the Americans, and being used as a pariah state to rationalise why its O.K. to bomb "non-humans" in their villages and send many young soldiers to a death that they hardly ever comprehend in terms of 1 to 4 above. Add to all this the factor of religion when:-
A. Pre the Soviet invasion the concept of Islam being the enemy and Muslims being all potential terrorists was not entrenched in the Western mind.
B. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan there was strong CIA support for bin Laden and the Mujahidin. In effect the Americans created the very creature they are fighting today in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan.
C. What is quite telling is the eradication of the heroine trade during the Taliban rule, for its religious reasons, and today the quite staggering supplies coming out of Afghanistan under US occupation for US economic and un-Islamic reasons.
I am satisfied with my health care here. I, myself, don't have an extra insurance policy and rely completely on the universal program. People here only buy supplementary insurance to get the extra comfort of a private room and extra drug coverage, etc. It's nice to be in a semi private or private room but I doubt that I'll get one if I am in the hospital. A friend of mine, when her cancer was terminal, was moved into a private room for 6 weeks though she didn't have extra coverage. Years ago, while recovering from surgery, I spent some time in a sanatorium and was given a private room because they didn't have any semi private available. It was a wonderful period if you can believe it. I wasn't very sick, just needed to be observed. The chef was Macedonian and the food was tasty! I had a tiny balcony. There was a library and a garden. Wow! This isn't standard care but you can get "lucky" under our 'socialized' medicine system. I can choose my doctor and see her at any time. I have never paid for any lab test. Yes, there is a shortage of doctors here – is there a shortage in the U.S.?
What I see in the U.S. is the Democrats taking hold of health care reform and the Republicans and some of the Democrats objecting on false premises. Why didn't the Republicans work on this all these years? Why are they passive until something gets started? They are all -- all the government people -- too fat. I would say let the Senators and the Representatives live for one year on a plan that any other American would pay for at a low level and see how they like it. I'm not talking about the unemployed, I'm talking about people who can only afford a minimal policy. The majority of Canadians -- the GREAT majority of Canadians -- would not trade their health care for American health care. But don't model yourselves on Canada -- pick any European country that would fit your way of life and then fight for change instead of letting the politicians get away with all this false rhetoric. The figures about outcomes in US treatment are played with -- there are some outcomes that are better here than in the US, some that are better in France than anywhere. That is all smoke to avoid careful thought about the real problem.