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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Money for war, not for human needs

No, that's not my slogan, just the actual practice of the Obama administration (and all previous ones). With Haiti destroyed, the U.S. will no doubt pledge (and maybe even deliver) a few tens of millions of dollars of aid. Meanwhile, Obama is about to request another $33 billion for war this year (2010), and $708 billion more for 2011. Nor will that be the end of it; the "plan" covers at least four years:
The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones and that its core missions will include both counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.
The reality of what the U.S. is doing received an excellent dissection by Scott Ritter on Truthdig a few days ago - a must-read article, with this as its premise:
The American people today are fatigued, and while their political leadership promises to lead the nation out of the long, dark tunnel of conflict, there continues to be no light emerging in the distance, only the ever-darkening shadows of wars without end or purpose.
Ritter is really excellent at analyzing what is going on, but a little shaky on the "why." Although he's not a liberal (I think more of a libertarian), he falls into the classic "difference between a liberal and a radical" definition, using words like "irrational" to describe U.S. policy, and, for example, asserting that the U.S. motivation to invade and create regime change in Iran stems from the need "to mollify domestic political pressures at home." That criticism aside, the article is really worth reading.

And if you want to assert a different priority -- "money for human needs, not the war machine" -- get off the computer and into the streets on March 20 in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, or elsewhere.

By the way, if you want to see an example of a country whose priority is human needs and not war, read this article (in Spanish) about how Cuba evacuated 30,000 people from the town of Baracoa in a matter of minutes because of the tsunami warning generated by the earthquake in Haiti.

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