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More pointless killing in Iraq

April 6th, 2010 No comments

At least this finally made it through to the New York Times.

Of course it won’t get any air-play or coverage on the TV news as it’s not polite to mention it.

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Defense Spending

March 12th, 2010 No comments

It’s tax season again. A good time to think about the ridiculous amount that we spend on defense. The following table is the annual spending on defense for the most recent year available, largely from WIkipedia’s page on defense spending and then dividing that by the population figure given by the national page on the Wikipedia. The numbers could come from different years so don’t worry about a few dollars here or there. The disparities are so great that it is very easy to see the contrasts.

Country Budget Population Spending/Person
US $667b 308m $2100
Israel $8.9b+2.38b (US Grants) 7.5m $1507 (1190+317)
UK $57b 62m $919
Germany $38b 81.76m $464
Japan $42b 127m $330
Russia $39.4b 142m $277
China $32b 1.3b $25

Unfortunately the high defense bills are not due to any threat or by those who care about the interests of others. Comparing the above figures with development aid is illuminating. I don’t mean defense grants, financing of exports and military crisis aid but the minuscule development aid amounts from the highest defense spender. Over half of overseas aid from the US for example is military aid to two countries.

I suggest we reduce defense spending to below $500 / person over the next five years. We simply can’t afford to starve the federal budgets with defense spending at the current levels when we need to develop a true national government. Between 1991 and 1997 Russia’s defense spending fell to an eighth of their 1991 levels in US dollars and has since risen to the $39.4b in 2009.

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How to be a Host US Embassy Style

April 11th, 2009 No comments

Another example of how American thought doesn’t work in most of the world. A group of US representatives in Afghanastan fail to undertand the nature of being a host in a world where a guest is often reliant on a host for their safe passage. By following their own wish for safety at the expense of their guests they fail to connect with local leaders creating a vacuum, in this case filled by a BBC camera crew who become the honored guests! It’s important to understand that families live their lives with everyday risks and to connect with them you need to be willing to share those risks instead of expecting constant safety in a world with other priorities.

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