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Wednesday, May 03, 2006


What is killing the people of the world?

Two stories in the news in the last few days, repeating a subject I first wrote about back in September, 2003. The U.S. government released a report claiming that 14,602 people died in acts of terrorism in 2005. Yes, we all know that depends on how you define "terrorism," and who you call a "terrorist," but let's accept that number for the moment. Compare that number, however you want to adjust it, to this one:
Poor nutrition contributes to the deaths of some 5.6 million children every year, and the world has fallen far short in efforts to reduce hunger by half before 2015, the U.N. Children's Fund said Tuesday.
Befitting the importance the world and the United States in particular assigns to this cause of death, nearly three orders of magnitude larger than deaths from terrorism, this item appeared in the "News in Brief" section.

Total amount spent so far on the so-called "war on terror"? More than $300 billion. Depending on what you include, over $400 billion already. And including the money that will need to be spent in the future, even if the war stops today, closer to $1 trillion. Even the lowest of all those figures could have provided $53,500 to purchase food for each of those children who died last year. Given the cost of living in most of the countries involved, that $53,500 could have bought food for a lifetime for each of them. Instead, they're dead. And so are more than 100,000 Iraqis, Afghans, Americans, and others because of what that money was spent on.

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