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Thursday, August 24, 2006


Two armies

Cuba and Australia are similar in a number of ways. Both are islands. Both have relatively small populations (11 million and 20 million, respectively). Both are sports-mad countries, which always stand atop the rankings of medals/population at the Olympics. Of course, there are striking differences between the two as well - Australia is led by a right-wing warmonger, while Cuba is led by people with rather different values. By coincidence, articles in the news today tell us that both are enlarging their armies, in rather different ways which reflect those values.

Australia is expanding its ability to kill people:

Australia will increase the size of its army by 2,600 troops to deal with rising security threats in the Asia-Pacific region and to contribute to possible future military operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prime minister said Thursday.
Meanwhile, the expansion of Cuba's "army" is just a little bit different:
As of yesterday, Cuba has 2,314 new health professionals and 1,593 students from 26 countries also received their medical diplomas.

“Cuba now has 71,000 doctors,” [Cuban Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer] noted. “Thanks to their responsibility and human sensibility we have achieved a giant army that is giving solidarity within and without the island, not only raising the quality of life of their patients but other values that are also promoters of health.”

“Our country is lending medical assistance in 68 nations and has offered aid in a hundred countries."
Which army would you rather invade the country you live in? I think I know who the Iraqis or the Afghans would choose.

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