While driving around earlier today, I saw an SUV with a "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbon AND a pink "Race For The Cure" breast cancer awareness and research ribbon on the guzzler's rear bumper.
This was the third such combination I observed this week.
Not even factoring in that the Iraq war is largely about oil of the type that this SUV just loves to take big hits of, I started to reflect on the inconsistency of advocating for supporting our troops and raising the clarion call for breast cancer early detection, more equitable treatment to all women with breast cancer (not just the ones with health insurance).
So then I went home, fired up the Excel spreadsheet and came up with some interesting numbers.
Total 2005 U.S. expenditures on the Iraq war- $67.2 billion.
Total new U.S. breast cancer cases estimated in 2005- 213, 000
Funds available per patient for breast cancer detection and treatment if there was no Iraq war- $315,492.95.
Approximate U.S. expenditures for breast cancer research in 2005- $600 million.
Ratio of money spent on breast cancer research in U.S. in 2005 compared to that on the Iraq war- 1:112
But maybe the guy with both ribbons on his SUV means well. I am guessing the 30ish looking young man driving the SUV may have a female relative suffering from breast cancer. He may also a brother in the military- and displaying ribbons is his way of expressing support for two people that he loves.
Although not everyone who flies a yellow Support Our Troops ribbon supports the war, I believe most of them do. This causes me to believe the ribbons-bearing brother just might have signed up because he believed all the propaganda about Saddam being involved in 9/11 and having Weapons of Mass Destruction.
And given the Republican tilt of military families, he and his brother may have reached maturity in a household where Bill Clinton was reviled as a draft-dodger.
The same Bill Clinton who tried to pass comprehensive health care reform that might have made the financial burden lighter on families touched by breast cancer.
The same Bill Clinton whose vice-president would not have invaded Iraq, and caused the waste of all this money.
Money better spent on medical care and research, for breast cancer and so many other diseases.
Money better spent on subsidizing prescriptions for expensive drugs that so many breast cancer patients must take to remain alive. Money now spent on munitions cratering empty streets in Fallujah.
Money that could have been spent on stem cell research as well.
Stem cell research to cure diseases such as the breast cancer that one so close to that SUV driver is living with.
Or died from.