While Rome Burns
It's time for a long overdue rant. I just learned that I lost another friend to cancer. He was 58 years old and the 3rd friend I've lost to cancer in the past 6 months. Why can't we beat this disease? Why aren't we fighting harder? Why don't we do a better job of caring for our own people instead of policing the whole damn world?
Our so-called leaders have never found a military boondoggle they can't wait to throw money at. There's no country too remote or too obscure for us to give foreign aid to or try to destablilize. Our Congress is too busy fucking around with impeachment to work on advancing the health of our nation.
Meanwhile, we're fighting wars, often in places we have no place being. We've spent 3 trillion taxpayer dollars ($3,000,000,000,000) on Middle East wars over the past 20 years. During the same period, we spent just 3% of that amount on Federal cancer research. How many lives would have been saved if just 1 of that 3 trillion dollars had gone to fighting cancer instead of fighting for and against people who have been squabbling amongst themselves for thousands of years and will likely continue doing so for thousands more to come?
Meanwhile, over 600,000 Americans each year die from cancer. Funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) averages just $5 billion per year. Compare that to the $50 billion spent on foreign aid in 2017, $20 billion of which was military aid. Did the world really need $20 billion more weapons? Are our priorities messed up or what? While helping people around the world is considered the moral thing to do, isn't doing everything we can to help our own people who are suffering and dying also moral?
Just as important as curing cancer is stopping it from developing in the first place. Astoundingly, even though NCI states that "Much of the progress against cancer in recent decades has stemmed from successes in the areas of prevention and control", just 5% of the total Federal cancer budget goes to prevention and control. How many lives would be saved if just that portion of the NCI budget was dramatically increased?
I find it appalling that we spent $25 billion training the Iraqi army (which lost to a ragtag ISIS militia of just 1,300 fighters in 2014) while underfunding cancer research. I find it unconscionable that we're giving Ukraine $400 million dollars in free weapons at the same time 610,000 Americans will die of cancer this year.
Isn't it time we do better for ourselves?