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What is your country doing for YOU?

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On January 20, 1961, in his inaugural speech, President John F. Kennedy made the profound statement, 'Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.'

Now 51 years later, in 2014, it’s time to ask the question: What is your country doing for YOU and, even more importantly, what is your country doing for countries in the Middle East?

The United States is currently involved in military conflicts in Afghanistan , Iraq and Syria. Not only is the U.S. involved in these military conflicts, U.S. troops have a significant presence in the following Middle Eastern countries. In addition, not only does our country have a significant presence in these countries, the U.S. actually provides huge amounts of money for foreign assistance to them, even though many of them hate Americans.

Most of the information below was take from a document entitled ‘U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East; Historical Background, Recent Trends and the FY 2011 Report’ (fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32260.pdf) by Jeremy M. Sharp, Middle Eastern Affairs, June 15, 2010.

Listed below are Middle Eastern countries to whom the U.S. provides foreign assistance and the amount of assistance given to each country in 2010. (Data for later years was not available).

  • Afghanistan: $10 Billion (The largest recipient of annual U.S. foreign assistance)
  • Algeria: $2,610 Million
  • Bahrain: $20,800 Million
  • Egypt: $2 Billion
  • Ethiopia: $580 Million
  • Iraq: $1,683 Million
  • Israel: $2.8 Billion
  • Jordan: $676 Million
  • Kuwait: $ .015 Million
  • Lebanon: $238.3 Million
  • Libya: $.780 Million
  • Morocco: $35.296 Million
  • Nigeria: $625 Million
  • Oman: $15.03 Million
  • Pakistan: $4.4 Billion
  • Palestine: $500.4 Million
  • Qatar: $ .010 Million
  • Saudi Arabia: $ .208 Million
  • Tanzania: $531 Million
  • Tunisia: $19.2 Million
  • United Arab Emirates: $ .240 Million
  • West Bank/Gaza: $693 Million
  • Yemen: $67.25 Million

What's wrong with this picture? Besides the fact that many of these countries hate the United States, we have been at war with Afghanistan and Iraq for years. As of August 4, 2014, there have been 2,201 U.S. military deaths and 18,675 wounded in the war in Afghanistan. In addition, 50 U.S. and coalition troops have been killed by insider attacks so far this year. Does it make sense to be giving Afghanistan $10 billion in foreign aid annually? How about putting some of these billions of dollars in foreign aid back into the U.S. economy where it would actually do some good?

During the war in Iraq, there were 4,488 U.S. military deaths and 32,222 wounded. Does it make sense to be giving Iraq $1683 million in foreign aid annually?

Now the United States is using airstrikes in Syria because of the ghastly atrocities being committed there. The U.S. Government has always taken pride in intervening in countries for humanitarian reasons. However, the United States cannot protect all the countries in the world who need it. Our military troops are already 'spread too thin' around the world. Besides that, both Iran and Russia have issued threats if we continue to intervene in foreign matters. So, is the United States going to end up fighting FIVE WARS at the same time? What would the outcome be of those five wars if our military troops were 'spread so thin'? It would be the end of world... which seems to be rapidly approaching... but why should the U.S. do anything more to speed up the process?

In addition to all of the above very serious wars and threats, the U.S. has a Congress whose most prominent 'achievement' (if you can call it that) was to vote to sue the President of the United States. So far, the President's biggest enemies seem to be within our own government.

Members of Congress return from vacation in September. Let us hope and pray that the ridiculous bipartisan gridlock does not continue and that the members of Congress actually do some work for the benefit of the American people who elected them. Whether or not they like the President or disagree with him on some issues, it is their duty and responsibility to work with the President on such important matters as wars and threats from foreign countries.

NOTE: As a reminder to readers, the countries are listed above just because they are in the Middle East. Not all of them hate the United States.

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