I know what you are thinking - you are thinking that the headline of this post is a joke. But it's not. It's not at all. Watch my CNN debate over Afghanistan and health care yesterday morning with former Bush speechwriter David Frum - specifically check out around 4 minutes in:
As you can see, Frum insists that Harvard's landmark study showing 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of health care is false. He makes this allegation with no proof whatsoever - unless you count as proof the fact that Frum says, "I went to Harvard, believe me."
If you don't accept Frum's Harvard experience as proof that Harvard Medical School researchers, the Cambridge Alliance and the Journal of Public Health are wrong (like I assume most people will not) then read Harvard's study here. Or, if you reject Harvard's study, then consider the argument I further made - specifically, that the number of Americans who have died and will die for lack of health care is at minimum in the "tens of thousands." That is substantiated by the Urban Institute and the Institute of Medicine.
But, then, the point here isn't reiterating the verifiable fact that there is a health care crisis in America. The point here is to show that neoconservatives will do absolutely anything to make sure that their warmongering agenda come before any other life-or-death priority - they will even go on CNN and cite their Ivy League pedigree as "proof" that a health care crisis isn't happening.
Frum, of course, tries to pull the tired Tea Party trick of citing the constitution as reason why we should spend roughly the same amount annually on the Afghanistan War as the annual cost of universal health care. He insists that while the constitution mandates the government provide for the defense of the country, it doesn't mandate anything else. For those clinging to that laughably absurd argument, please Google the terms "constitution" and "general welfare clause" - and thanks for playing.
He then tries to say the Afghanistan War as a national security issue, while the health care crisis is not. But even that assertion doesn't make any sense when you really think about it. If "national security" at its core means protecting the general population from death and bodily harm, then by the sheer body count, the health care crisis is a FAR bigger national security threat than Afghanistan.
Even if you ascribe every terrorist-related American death on and since 9/11 solely to Afghanistan, and then add in all American casualties in Afghanistan, you are looking at no more than 8,000 Afghanistan-related deaths since 9/11. Compare that to health care deaths - even if you use the lowest (and most outdated) figure of 18,000 health insurance deaths a year, you are looking at 162,000 American casualties from the health care crisis in the same time. Projecting forward, even if you insist there will be three 9/11's every year without continued prosecution of the Afghanistan War, you are looking at 9,000 Afghanistan-related American deaths a year. Again, compare that to the lowest estimate of 18,000 health care deaths a year - and you get the point. As I said before and I will say again, as long as you accept the basic definition of "national security" as securing the general population from death the numbers prove the health care crisis is a FAR bigger national security crisis for America.
For neoconservatives like Frum, however, those facts don't comport with their extremist ideology, and so they resort to citing their Establishment credentials (in Frum's case, his attendance at Harvard) to fabricate a fantastical world that doesn't actually exist - a world where there is no health care crisis, and where escalating a war in Afghanistan is a better way to save American lives than reforming health care. It is a world, as one Bush neoconservative told the New York Times, outside of the "reality-based community" where neoconservatives "create our own reality."
And obviously - obviously! - we should all just rest assured that this created reality will ultimately exist, because hey, David Frum went to Harvard University.