by Amy Zidell
I'm sure Saddam Hussein is breathing a huge sigh of relief now that Los Angeles won't be invading Iraq. Apparently the La La Land City Council is taking LA's nickname a little too much to heart. As a second generation Angeleno I'm frankly a bit embarrassed by how some of my fellow Angelenos have been acting lately. Not all of us on the West Coast reside in the Left Coast.
When I spotted a February 26, 2003 Drudge Report headline, "The Cost Of War: $320 Per Citizen," first I wondered where I could send a check, and second I had an idea, tacky though it may be. Why not enable an "Adopt A Military" program whereby patriots, citizens, and international supporters alike could contribute, in a direct financial way, to the defense and possible war effort? We've been adopting roads, highways, over and underpasses, probably even lampposts for some time now, at least in California. And let's not forget all the chocolate bar sales at countless schools to fund certain programs. Why not give individuals, businesses, and organizations the opportunity to adopt a smart-bomb, fighter jet, flight crew, barracks, individual service personnel, a mess hall, etc.?
Why stop at the war effort? Whether war is avoided or not, similar sponsorship programs can be established to address a variety of interests: ongoing defense, deficit reduction, education, healthcare, or other essential programs. Sure a majority of us pay taxes, but an "Adopt A Program" program allows someone to put their own additional drops in the specific buckets of their choosing.
As with a donation to public television, the higher your pledge, the more goodies you get. A big-ticket item, say the first bomb dialed into Saddam, would have to reside in at least a six-figure neighborhood. For this level of generosity you'd receive a special package including something along the lines of:
- A DVD of the flight including before and after pictures of the target
- Special bonus footage with the crew, featuring mini bio's of the brave soldiers
- Possible name recognition at press conferences and news briefings about military action, i.e., "At 1am local time, the John Doe sponsored smart-bomb took out a significant target..."
- A commemorative plaque signed by the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, General Tommy Franks, and the flight crew members. The plaque would feature a picture of the sponsored smart-bomb, satellite photo, or other plaque worth documentation
- Dinner with the flight crew's family members
- An "I Sponsor Freedom" tee-shirt
- Be added to the President's greeting card list
For the more budget minded, fractional portions of larger items, or smaller items, such as sponsorship of a spoon from an aircraft carrier mess hall would be in the $20 to $40 range and could include an unsigned group photo of crew members in the mess hall. Even steadfast vegetarian Left Coasties could sponsor a vegetable peeler with a clear conscience. They would have to agree, no matter what, our troops need to eat their veggies.
The whole menu of sponsorship worthy items could be economically listed on, the Internet, e-bay, fax on demand services, and break room bulletin boards. In addition to sponsorship opportunities, specialized military merchandise could be produced and made available for sale, the proceeds going toward the military.
No one wants war. I hope that war can be avoided. However, since this largely hangs on whether or not Saddam is going to be a stand up guy or not, the avoidance of war doesn't bode well judging from his track record.
The fact is that war is going to cost a lot. Everyone will pay in terms of taxes, possible shifts in budgets of other less crucial programs, and deficits. Military memorabilia is an active and slightly scary niche of the collectible world. Think of the "Adopt A Military" program as a method of preemptive collectibility.
Following any military action, or other mode of Saddam ouster, new "Adopt A ..." programs can be implemented benefiting the Iraq rebuilding efforts. For example: "Adopt A Democracy," "Adopt An Iraqi," "Adopt A Desert Highway" - hey, that's just like Los Angeles.
Suggested pledge amounts and corresponding goodies:
(Fractional items and amounts available, though not listed)