Life or Death: a trade-off by Cecile Pineda

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

The Obama administration has made a $128 billion request to fund war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for the coming fiscal year.  $128 billion is a very interesting figure.

By 2019, the Urban Institute concludes that a single payer health plan would save $20 billion annually based on a projected 6% annual increase in baseline health care cost ($130 billion for single payer vs. over $150 billion for the present system).

In other words, instead of one year of death and destruction, all Americans could enjoy one year of single-payer health coverage. That includes the nearly 45 million people who can’t afford health coverage of any kind, even if the new laws mandate universal purchase of insurance by the very same people who are unable to afford it.

This tradeoff is a stark reminder of the choice either for life or for death. It is probably not going to be offered the American people any time soon, although a recent CNN poll shows that close to 60 percent of the public is now opposed to this war.

The question needs to be raised: Why is this society producing a kind of global toxicity through its foreign policy, when it could equally be espousing a life-affirming position?  Is there something about our national character? Or does public policy have nothing to do with accurately representing the will of the people? Does it only reflect the interests of the people in charge? And who are the people in charge?

The healthcare bill now emerging from committee seems to be a clear giveaway to the health insurance companies. The wars sweeping through Iraq and Afghanistan now threaten to target Pakistan. Among the companies benefiting from the pilotless war in Pakistan are General Atomics, manufacturer of the Predator drone, and Northrop Grumman, manufacturer of the Global Hawk drone. The Predator is the drone that actually drops bombs on targets, while the Global Hawk seems to be for reconnaissance and targeting.

Since WWII, the kill ratio of 10% civilians vs. 90% soldiers has exactly been reversed. The drones have a big role to play in continuing this.

Protesting this War in the Heavens, on September 17, 2009 CODEPINK delivered a petition to the White House and to Senator Harry Reid with over 10,000 signatories, (more to come), which reads in part: “If we do not decide to disengage at once, our dreams of domestic reform will be squandered by years of war budgets. Our dreams of clean energy will be buried in wars over oil and pipelines.…Everything is related now: we cannot afford national health care, housing, and clean energy while spending billions on quagmires across several continents….Our security needs cannot be served by provoking hatred of America caused by repeated invasions of foreign lands.”

As citizens, we have an obligation to do our utmost to push against corporate interests by forcing this administration to reverse its misguided priorities and to truly represent the people who elected it to office. To add your name to this petition, please go to:

Cecile Pineda is the award-wining author of six published novels, all available from Wings Visit her web page at

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.