Iraq is STILL a domestic issue: a story about children dying of cancer

March 18, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More

From now on, whenever you see any article that talks about the US budget being “tight,” it means that money has been stolen from some worthy cause by George W. Bush, who diverted those precious tax dollars to pursue what is turning out to be one of the biggest financial and social fiascoes in US history. 

I previously wrote that Iraq is a “domestic” issue.  More than ever, Iraq remains a domestic issue. The reason is that money is fungible.   Money that we pour into Iraq is no longer available for worthy domestic purposes. Consider that $409 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars have now been poured into that meatgrinder we call Iraq.

“Isn’t that just a small part of our budget?” you might ask.  “What does it matter to me,” one might ask? But consider how much $1 billion is.   And for those who ask these questions, here’s something to think about, the topic of an article featured in the March 2, 2007 edition of Science, an article called “Tight Budget Takes a Toll on US-Funded Clinical Trials.”  [Available to subscribers only

The Science article illustrates the problem.  Many children are being deprived of life-saving cures because funding for pediatric cancer studies are being slashed by the U.S. government:

Cancer specialists are reeling from deep cuts now being made in clinical trials, including what they say is the first-ever request from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, to slash patient enrollment. They are anxiously waiting to learn in the coming weeks precisely how 2007 funding will be divvied up. But already among the 10 U.S. cooperative groups that run large-scale cancer trials, many are implementing an NCI recommendation to trim their costs by 10% because of growing pressure on NCI’s budget. Roughly 95 trials are at risk, and the number of open slots for patients is being reduced by 3000.

Trials for children have been hit hard, according to pediatric oncologists. Over several decades, they have built up an efficient network to wring data from a relatively small number of patients. More than 50% of children with cancer enroll in a clinical trial, compared with about 3% of adults, says Gregory Reaman, a pediatric oncologist and head of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) that runs pediatric trials.

The researchers are scrambling to make up for the lost funds, trying “to figure out which kids we affect the least . . . Even though many trials are still moving forward, they’re really strip down,” according to John Maris, a pediatric oncologist.  Pediatric oncologist April Sorrell was shocked to learn that a leukemia trial “that she’d spent more than four years developing along with 17 other researchers wasn’t going to happen.”  Jeff Michalski of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis learned that his “medulloblastoma study would have to reduce its enrollment goal to 455 from 600.

Affected studies included protocols for relapsed T-cell leukemia, the brain tumor medulloblastoma, the kidney cancer Wilms tumor, and a rare infantile sarcoma.  Richard Schilsky, associate dean for clinical research at the University of Chicago in Illinois calls the substantial budget reductions, “a bizarre turn.”

Here’s the kicker.  The total amount of cuts causing this mayhem among 2007 pediatric cancer trials amount to $2.1 million.  Compare that to the $200 Million we spend to destroy buildings and people in Iraq every day

Or, if you dare, compare the money we spend in Iraq to the cost of alternative worthy social domestic projects (or see here or here) that don’t have a chance because of the “tight” budget.  Long ago, I wrote that Iraq was the 70 Million Children Left Behind War.  It should also be known as the Thousands of Terribly Sick Children Left Behind War.

If you have the horrendous misfortune of having you child stricken with cancer, don’t consider writing to President Bush to tell him what you think about his “War on Terror.” He is the Decider and the Decider doesn’t care.


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Category: Health, Iraq, Politics, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (8)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    Slashing domestic programs was clearly part of the Republican plan. The best way to destroy social programs is to cut off the money available to fund them. The best way to do that is to divert federal money to a wasteful consumption program — like an invasion — that funnels trainloads of federal money into the pockets of your Republican pals while it bankrupts the government. Then, cut taxes. Poof! All the money in the federal budget disappears, and with it go the social programs. Damage the budget enough and you leave Democrats with no other option but to raise taxes to repair the derailed social programs and the bankrupted government. This then gives you the opportunity, during the next election, to slam Dems for wanting to raising taxes.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Some more evidence that Iraq is a domestic issue:

    This is a story about how the shipment of National Guard personnel and equipment (trucks, helicopters, Humvees, etc.) to Iraq has caused shortages in America, which has slowed recovery efforts in Kansas after devastating tornadoes recently swept through that state:….

    And here is a story about a study which shows that the more times soldiers are sent off to duty, the more their children at home are at risk for abuse:….

    Funny we don't hear such stories in Republican speeches about how they will do a better job of "protecting America from terrorists," than will Democrats. In fact, we don't know if Republicans will do a better job than Democrats of protecting America from terrorists, but we do know they will do a worse job of protecting America from everything else.

  3. Leonid S. Sukhorukov says:

    * Peace is always lost in someone's pocket. From a book of aphorisms "All About Everything" by Leonid S. Sukhorukov, UK, 2005

  4. Leonid S. Sukhorukov says:

    * Every sabre has a curving smile. Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  5. Leonid S. Sukhorukov says:

    * Some politicians are only able to think with their warheads. Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  6. Leonid S. Sukhorukov says:

    * Thinking is the hardest thing to do while marching. Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  7. Ben says:

    * I sometimes wish Leonid S. Sukhorukov had a short name. Like Ben.


  8. Larry Witt says:

    Our son was diagnosed with rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma and we are now very aware of the realities that research cuts may impart on our sons future. The really sad part of it all is that a $2.1 million cut is significant because the total amount of federal money spent on childrens cancer as a whole is almost non-existent when compared to the money spent on adult cancers. The survival rate for breast cancer far exceeds the typical survival rate for a child diagnosed with cancr and this is due to the millions spent on research and the high profile it is afforded by major corporate sponsors. We need this to change and for childrens cancer to begin to see some of the spotlight in hopes of furthering research and improving the odds of survival. Want to imagine what it feels like to have your two year old son diagnosed with a cancer that gives him a little better than 50% chance of survival? Feel free to visit our blog:

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