Dear Governor Paterson,
The New York State budget for 2009 calls for deep cuts in services and programs that will have a devastating impact on many New Yorkers. In your presentation, you remarked that we New Yorkers had been “living beyond our means” and that these tough economic times necessitated even tougher decision making. Clearly, you arrived at this budget after careful examination and rigorous review. We respect that; however we hope you will apply the same care and rigor in selecting a replacement for Hillary Clinton in the United States Senate.
Our current financial crisis has several causes; however, buried in the headlines about Wall Street versus Main Street, mortgage scandals, dubious banking ethics and Ponzi schemes, it is important to remember that a major part of this crisis has its roots in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The cost of this folly has been calculated at $500,000 per minute*, translating to $720,000,000 per day and the “return” on this dubious investment has been catastrophic. Over 4200 American soldiers have died and thousands more have been injured. Waging an immoral and unconscionable invasion over imaginary weaponry has cost us dearly in the eyes of the world and has unleashed a potential for future terrorist acts that is heart-stopping.
Yes, international diplomacy and peacemaking are not part of the official responsibilities of a governor, and we certainly understand that defense/war spending comes out of Federal coffers. However, the money squandered in Iraq has cratered Federal funds, directly impacting on monies that should be allocated to state and local budgets for education, health care, senior services, transportation and affordable housing, to say nothing of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and investing in alternative energy and building a ‘green’, sustainable future.
Your choice for a replacement senator is a real opportunity to make powerful statement — to your constituents, to our fellow citizens and to the world. We hope you will step up to this challenge and make a decision free of political pressures or calculation and most importantly we hope you will send a genuine emissary for peace and prosperity to represent us in the United States Senate.
The Legislative Committee
The Granny Peace Brigade
*Figures calculated by Linda Bilmes, Kennedy School, Harvard University and Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor, Columbia University.