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PAGE 4 THEFLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2011 I I Comments Letter to the Editor The Florala News' editorial section is intended "to provide our readers and citizens as complete an opportunity to xpress themselves with as few re- strictions as possible. Profanity, direct or implied, and attacks on one's per- son rather than on actions or deeds are not acceptable. Publication on this page in NO WAY REFLECTS AGREEMENT OR ENDORSEMENT BY THIS NEWSPAPER. The Unchanging Imperial Pardigm Sheldon Richman Despite President Obama's trumpeted force drawdown in Afghanistan, by the end of next summer more than twice as many U.S. troops will be fighting in that country's civil war as there were when he became president in 2009. His soothing words notwithstanding, a force of about 70,000 will remain there at least until the end of 2014. We can be sure, however, that that won't stop the president from cam- paigning for reelection on a peace platform. Obama's speech the other night was mostly show, a spec- tacle to make the war- and deficit-weary public think he's taking substantial steps toward disengagement. He did something similar in Iraq, though 50,000 troops remain and are still taking casualties. It is easy for a president to manipulate public opinion, especially in foreign affairs and most especially when the mainstream media conservative and "liberal" are so compliant. The war will go on, but probably under the radar more than before, just as the war in Iraq does. The public and mainstream media attitude will be, 'I'he president said the war is ending, so there's no need to pay attention." One problem: Not much is changing. sure, fiscal difficulties have forced a reconsideration of tac- tics, but the imperial framework remains. It was compactly summed up by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 as he prepared to move against Iraq's Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait: "What we say goes." Empires always require myths, and the U.S. empire is no different. In the days before Obama's speech, McCain and others campaigned for no more than token drawdown by asserting that Afghanistan would become a threat to the American people if the U.S. military disengaged, just as it did supposedly after the Soviets withdrew in 1989. "We withdrew from Afghanistan one time," McCain said. "We withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban came, eventually followed by al-Qaeda, followed by the attacks on the United States of America." That is empire-serving nonsense. The policymakers did not abandon Afghanistan; they tried to micromanage it in defiance of Atghan history and culture. As Michael Scheuer, who once ran the CIA's bin Laden unit, wrote in 2009, "In the immediate post-Soviet years, then, Washington spent tens of millions of dollars to try to form exactly the same type of strong and centralized Afghan government the type of regime that historically causes war in Afghanistan it is trying to form today...: The Afghans wanted no part of the secularism the U.S.-led West insisted on then...." In- stead of letting the conflicting Afghan factions find some way to peace after a decade of brutal Soviet intrusion, American policymakers fanned the flames of civil war. In any event, it was neither neglect of Afghanistan nor intervention there that prompted al-Qaeda's attacks on 9/11. Rather it was half a century of U.S. support for bru- tahty in the Muslim and Arab world, from Israel's oppres- sion of the Palestinians, to the corrupt monarchy in Saudi Arabia, to the torturous secular dictatorships in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. CROSSWORD Regardless of what Obama does in Afghanistan,as long as the U.S. government eyes the Middle East, North Af- rica, and Central Asia the way an imperial power eyes its In the coming months, politicians and pundits will de- bate whether Obama's drawdown is too slow or too fast. The president expliqitly took a middle position between those who wanted merely a token withdrawal, such as the top military brass and Sen. John McCain, and those who want an immediate exit, such as Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. . But the pace, though not insignificant, is hardly the main issue. The "main issue is the empire. If all combat troops were removed from Afghanistan tomorrow, the U.S. gov- ernment would continue to treat that country like a protec- torate, ready to send troops back if events are not to the pol- icy elite's liking. It's the paradigm of empire that must be rejected. But Obama's drawdown and disavowal of empire notwithstanding, the U.S. policy elite have no intention of reconsidering America's hegemonic role in the world. To be Our health is overinsured! by Dr. ,Tracy C. Miller consumer, thus increasing demand. Higher demand with a given supply means higher prices. It does not matter whether consumers or employers pay health-insurance premiums. The premiums are part of the cost of healthcare. Eliminating routinezare from being cov- ered by health insurance would mean premiums would de- crease and employers could pass the savings along to their employees as higher wages. The average consumer would be better off as a result. If it were not for the tax deduct- ibility of health-insurance premiums, employers w6uld not cover routine care and treatment for preventable conditions as much as they do. This is not to deny that many Americans do not have suf- ficient access to affordable healthcare or that the inability of some to afford health insurance is something we should be concerned about. Although it does not make sense for insurance to cover the ordinary medical costs of child birth. treating chronic asthma, or flu symptoms, it may be a good idea to have insurance in case of complications resulting from childbirth or to cover hospitalization for pneumonia and other serious illnesses. The best way to help those who cannot afford basic health insurance is not to reqmre or subsidize the kind of comprehensive health-insurance plans that most employ- ers now offer. On the contrary, healthcare costs and the cost of health insurance that would cover life-threatening illnesses and serious accidents would be considerably lower if the existing system of taxes, subsidies, and government regulations did not result in so many people being overin- sured. Dr. Tracy C. Miller is an associate professor of econom- ics at Grove City College and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values. He holds a Ph.D. from Univer- sity of Chicago. One of the arguments for healthcare reform is that mil- lions of Americans with employer-provided healthcare are underinsured. Proponents of this view are saying that people are underinsured if they are paying too many of ..their healthCare Costs out-of-pocket. Quite the contrary, a Jittle reflection on what insurance is and is supposed to do suggests that the problem is really :the opposite: many, if not most Americans are overinsured--they have too much health insurance coverage. On what basis can I claim that Americans have too much health insurance? The purpose of insurance is to protect people from risk. Private companies offer affordable insur- ance against losses 'from automobile accidents, accidental death, fires, storms, and floods, among other things. These kinds of insurance arose in response to people's willing- ness to pay for a contract that will compensate them for losses due to a relatively low probability event over which the insured party has little or nocontrol. Yet, unlike other kinds of insurance, most of what is covered by many health- insurance plans does not fit this description. This is why so many people who do not have employer-provided health in- surance are either uninsured or purchase only catastrophic coverage. The problem with many existing health-insurance plans is that they cover the cost of routine treatment for illnesses, such as colds, and flu that occur frequently, or the cost of care for conditions, such as pregnancy, that are heavily de- pendent upon the choices of the person who is insured. Ba- sic economics teaches that paying for routine treatment via a third-party insurance company will raise the total cost of that treatment. This happens for two reasons: First, the insurance company, as middleman between the consumer and the healthcare provider, has costs that must come out of what the consumer pays. Second, insurance that pays for routine care lowers the cost of each doctor visit to the LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: The Florala News welcomes Letters to the Editor All letters will be published at the discretion of the editor/publisher. No letter will be published that does not bear the actual name of the writer and their city or town of residence. A contact number or e-mail address is required but will not be published. Letters cannot be returned. colonies, there will be threats to contend with. The path to American security lies in renouncing a foreign policy de- signed to rule the world. Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Free- dom Foundation ( and editor of The Freeman magazine. =IRWORKS FROM PAGE 2 when you use fireworks, you increase the possibilities of misuse and injury to your- self and others. * Pay attention to the weather conditions. In ad- dition to dry weather in- creasing the possibility of fire, we must also consider wind when using fireworks as well. A shift in the wind or an increase in wind speed can adversely affect fire- works. Any change in the weather that increases the danger from our fireworks must be considered and the use of fireworks must stop if conditions worsen to the point that fireworks cannot safely be enjoyed. * Be sure your fireworks are legal and purchased from a reputable dealer in- spected and permitted by your Alabama S, tate Fire Marshal's office. Each year, damage and destruction to residences, businesses, timber, crops, and vehicles result from the careless use of fireworks. In addition personal injury and even tragic fatalities can occur and are even more likely under the unusually dry conditions. The men and women of the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office hope the simple tips and reminders will help to enhance and en- sure your safe and enjoyable Independence Day. STATEPOINT CROSSWORD 1 2 3 13 . 16 19 25 26 27 35 4O 44 48 57 58 59 65 69 72 7 8 m __ 21 24 -II 38 5O "11 61 67 J I lO 11 112 32 33 134 , = I i2. 2 63 164 m -- PRESENTED BY Where volunteering begins. SlztePoint Media THEME: HEALTHY EATING ACROSS 1 *Food past its sell;by date 6 Onlifie pop-ups 9. " to My Lou" 13. Furiously angry 14. Gift topper 15. Manicurist's board 16. "Rolling in the Deep" sing- er 17. Id's partner 18. Katmandu country 19. *Food 21. *Source of resveratrol 23. Rogue or rascal 24. It comes to mind 25. Drumstick 28. Give certain impression 30. Treeless plains 35. Copycat 37. petri dish gel 39. South American camelid 40. *Needs calcium 41. *Like low-calorie version 43. Demonical 44. Door signs 46. Tarot card reader, e.g. 47. Bristle 48. Auditorium 50. Sun beams 52. Acid 53. Annoyingly slow 55. Goes with "aah" 57. *Should not be too large 61. Like localized disease 65. *Pungent natural healer 66. Finish 68. Habituate 69. To call by name. archaic 70. Hawaiian wreath 71. Cancelled or reversed 72. Broflovski of "South Park" 73. Allow 74. En , all together 8. *fish, rich in Omega-3 9. Eurasian duck 10. Confederate soldier's hat 11. Ayatollah Khamenei's home 12. Gomer on "The Andy Grif- fith Show" 15. Ultimate goal 20. UtOpia, e.g. 22. *Sushi item 24. Similes or allusions 25. *Source of food information 26. Ingredient in strong adhe- sives 27. Relating to a gene 29. Knight's chest plate 31. A in IPA, pl. 32. Innie or outie? 33. Leaves out 34. *Starter or side 36. Network of nerves 38. Actress Perlman 42. Done before buying clothes 45. Lying on your back 49. Holstein sound 51. *Too much can increase blood pressure 54. Death announcer 56. Reddish brown natural dye 57. Chicken pox scar. e.g. 58. Unrivaled 59. Cambodian money 60. Drink too much 61. Revise for publication 62. Clays or mucks 63. Author VIurdoch 64. Get rid of 67. Maiden name indicator last week s solution DOWN 1. Lover s strike 2. Neat 3. Affirm with confidence 4. Jasmine s kin 5. Dropsies 6. In bed 7. " Day Afternoon" (1975) ........ : r'-::,' ........ - .... +'  + Pl r