In the past few months, one of my best friends and motorcycle buddies dropped dead of a heart attack at 62. My accountant died recently of pancreatic cancer, and my brother in law is dying of throat cancer. Another friend has recently been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and my girlfriend's father has prostate and lung cancer. I have already had one cancerous spot cut off my face, and my doctor says I can expect more. I'm sure the world's two most common killers have touched your life in similar ways. On the other hand, I don't personally know anyone who has been killed or injured in a terrorist attack.
I believe the latest national statistics indicate we all have about a 25 percent chance of dying from heart disease and a 25 percent chance of dying from cancer. During the past decade, of the 300 million people in America, about 3,000 have been killed in terrorist attacks. That means your chances of dying in a terrorist attack are about 0.00001 percent. That's one ten thousandth of a percent.
While your chances of dying from heart disease or cancer are about 50 percent.
Here is my question. If the chances of dying in a terrorist attack are so infinitesimally small and the chances of dying from heart disease or cancer are so staggeringly high, why is America spending over a trillion dollars a year on defense and just about $10 billion on research for cures for heart disease and cancer?
Even though we spend more on defense than the next 10 largest countries in the world combined, a bunch of guys with box cutters defeated our multi-trillion dollar defense network and carried out the most significant attack on America since Pearl Harbor. It doesn't seem like we are getting our money's worth. That seems to shoot a major hole in any argument that the reason we are not being killed by terrorists is because the government spends massive amounts of our hard earned tax dollars on defense.
My belief is the "War on Terror" has actually created more terrorists and has made the world a more dangerous place for all Americans. If you doubt that, turn on your television and watch the anti-American riots going on in countries around the world. Could it be that our massive defense budget has actually made it more likely you will be injured or killed in a terrorist attack? It looks that way to me.
Are you more concerned about heart disease and cancer or terrorist attacks? I have no fear whatsoever of being killed in a terrorist attack. When I leave my home in the morning, I don't carry a gas mask or wear a bulletproof vest.
I am extremely concerned, however, about heart disease and cancer. I wear SPF 60 sunscreen so I don't get skin cancer. I get regular and unpleasant rectal exams by my doctor to make sure I don't have prostrate cancer. I get a colonoscopy every few years to make sure I don't have colon cancer. I drink Citrucel every morning and eat a high fiber diet to reduce my chances of getting colon cancer. When I go to the dentist and get my teeth X-rayed they make me wear a big lead vest with a lead thyroid collar to reduce my risk of getting thyroid cancer. I try to eat right. I spend several hours a week at the gym to reduce my risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
On the other hand, I spend no time during my busy week concerning myself or preparing for a terrorist attack.
I read a story in the Nation that presented a very compelling case that the actual dollar amount spent on national defense is around $1 trillion. The actual volume of your tax dollars that are spent on national defense is almost twice the $530 billion we are misled to believe.
So here is my suggestion. Why don't we allocate our tax dollars in a more reasonable and cost-effective manner to address the real threats facing each and every person in America? Instead of spending over a trillion dollars a year on defense, let's cut defense spending to around $700 billion and allocate the other $300 billion to finding cures for cancer and heart disease. I believe the math and the logic in this formula are irrefutable.
Of course, I'm a realist, and I know this will never come pass. It makes too much sense for the bureaucratic morons that run the government in Washington to embrace. There is no graft, corruption, bribes -- I mean campaign contributions in it for them. The strangle hold the defense industry has on our government is too strong.
I'm sure the United States will keep spending trillions chasing the boogieman in every country in the Middle East, keep sticking our nose into problems around the world that are none of our business, developing new ways to kill our fellow man in more efficient and horrifying ways and even keep looking for signs of life on Mars.
In the meantime, you and your friends and family will continue to die from two of the biggest killers in the world today, heart disease and cancer.
Maybe NASA should launch a project looking for intelligent life on this planet.
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