11/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I've Got a Little List -- (With Apologies to W.S. Gilbert)

Not everyone agreed, but I thought the debate was boring because the real questions were, as usual, unasked. Here are the ones I'd like to hear next time.

1) How did the senseless Iraq war bankrupt our country and has this ever happened before in history?

Historians know that arms races and senseless wars bankrupted Athens, Rome, Spain, France and untold other empires that later fell apart. The French Revolution was partly the result of the bankruptcy of France under those two spendthrift kings, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Drained by an arms race with England, the French treasury was empty and the French kings were deep in debt. Unfortunately, a disastrous harvest made bread too expensive for all but aristocrats. Though Marie Antoinette did not say, Let 'em eat cake (brioche, technically) she lost her head anyway. No wonder the Bushies are moving battalions home from Iraq. They expect civil chaos after they try to steal the next election. I hope to be in Venice watching the water rise.

2) How many civilians died in Iraq? We hear a lot about the four thousand women and men who died wearing US uniforms. My heart goes out to them and their parents, children and spouses--but they were (mostly) volunteers. Of course this does not make their loss any less horrific, any less tragic, any less wasteful. But the dead Iraqi civilians volunteered for nothing. Many were children too young to volunteer for anything but flying kites or toddling about. Many were mothers who could not protect them. Many were fathers who had no secular divisions to fight, who were merchants or farmers or artisans or teachers. Why does nobody ever mention them? Their numbers are in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. Nobody counts. They are the unsung victims of our useless, treasury-draining war.

3) Why do we persevere in torturing people though it doesn't result in real information and makes us hated all over the world?

John McCain was tortured but appears to gave forgotten. When a country prates of democracy and "being the greatest in the world," it does not inspire confidence when we flout all our best traditions. We broke our rules of engagement, abandoned the Geneva Conventions. Is it a surprise nobody believes us any more?

4) How come nobody asks: What's the role of insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies in harming our health care?

We pay more for care than any other western country. The costs hurt our health, our businesses' global competitiveness and most of all our kids. Why is this the elephant in the room? Why do drug companies advertise that they will give you free pills--if you're destitute. Why don't they just charge fair prices? Why doesn't our government make them? Why do the insurance companies act like our de facto government?


The Rovians are at it again--fixing touch screen machines, hacking into servers and the so-called mainstream media is not reporting it. Why are the Democrats not fighting back? The Repugnicans are slandering them with voter fraud. The best defense is an offense, they figure. Why does no one bring it up?

Are you listening, Tom Brokaw, Gwen Infill, Bob Schieffer, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson? Is anybody there?

6) And finally, what is the role of the mainstream media in keeping the truth from us?

Can media owned by Rupert Murdoch, General Electric and other war-mongers, tell us the truth about the war profiteers who are getting rich while we are getting poor? Why should they? Will Cheney blow the whistle on Halliburton?

I rest my case.