Monday, March 07, 2011

Hard Times For Everyone Except for the rich and the Military $1.2 Trillion Spent on the Military While the Rest of Us Fight Over Crumbs

So who's to blame for massive budgets and deficits in the USA the poor not so much
"the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor"
Leonard Cohen

"Pity would be no more if there were no poor"
William Blake

America and NATO not winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan or Pakistan as they still have their Wild West Cowboy ethics of shoot first ask questions later. As we have seen before as in the infamous Wikileaks video of the Baghdad Massacre that the military personnel have a cavalier attitude when it comes to gunning down and blowing people to pieces-they seem to get a great kick out of it as if they are engaged in a high-def 3d Computer Game. The kill is their thrill in an otherwise monotonous tour of duty.

To some extent the average soldier can in many cases be forgiven for their callous attitude towards even civilians since they were taught by the US military that they must become efficient never second-guessing killing machines. They are further taught that the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan don't appreciate what the military and governments are trying to do for them.
They are also taught that all Muslims all Afghans, all Iraqis , all Pakistanis are potentially the enemy .
They are also taught that these people are all backward , lacking in sophistication or intelligence or normal human emotions.
They are also taught that Islam is evil, anti-Christian and that Muhammad was a servant of Satan and the principalities so killing Muslims is a good thing for a true Christian to do.
This attitude if anything is more prevalent in US armed forces who are at the mercy of Commanders, Generals down to drill Sargent and paid for mercenaries such as Blackwater INC. who seem to be in the business of proselytizing on behalf of radical form of American Evangelicalism which says the US is God's chosen nation and therefore Americans can do no wrong since whatever they do is part of God's plan.
These soldiers are also on a daily bases told to make sure they fill their "Kill Quota "each day.
Some are told that they are in fact hunters for Jesus to kill all non-believers.
Besides why should anyone anywhere in the world trust the US or NATO since they are guilty of the abuse and torture of those captured .
In Iraq the Americans and its allies have destroyed whole villages and cities in retaliation for the deaths of just one or four or five of their soldiers. Killing thousands as part of the US and NATO blood-fued against all Muslims , all Arabs, all Persians, all Pashtuns all Palestinians etc.

"Karzai rejects U.S. apology over Afghan deaths " CBC & The Associated Press Posted: Mar 6, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday rejected a U.S. apology for the mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in a NATO air attack and said civilian casualties are no longer acceptable.

According to a statement from his office, Karzai told Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, that expressing regret was not sufficient in last week's killing of the boys, ages 12 and under, by coalition helicopters.

NATO has also apologized for the mistaken killings. Civilian casualties from coalition operations are a major source of strain in the already difficult relationship between Karzai's government and the United States, and they generate widespread outrage among the population.

"President Karzai said that only regret is not sufficient and also mentioned that civilian casualties during military operations by coalition forces is the main reason for tension in relations between Afghanistan and United States," the statement said.

"It is not acceptable for the Afghan people anymore. Regrets and condemnations of the incident cannot heal the wounds of the people."

The U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan are fighting an insurgency and guerrilla war using death from above that is using Drones, high altitude bombers, helicopter gunships etc. instead of boots on the ground which in this type of warfare it is inevitable that many innocents will be killed. The American military has learned little from its fiasco in Vietnam or during the last decade of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

It seems almost weekly there is another incident in which the US military accidentally kills some civilians. In most cases it is from the use of aerial bombardment of one sort or another.

The reason for using drones and such is to decrease American casualties but with little or no regard for innocent civilians. Last week or so General Petraeus suggested that Aghans and Pastuns extremists were killing their own children in order to produce bad press for American forces.
The sad thing is that many Americans appear to agree with Petraeus or just have no sympathy for the children in Afghanistan who are blown to pieces because they are seen as subhuman or as potential Islamic terrorists and therefore deserve to die .

In the same way for centuries Americans demonized and dehumanized American Indians so it was easier to butcher them.
The American slogan during the Indian Wars was "The only good Indian was a dead Indian". America has not abandoned such a pernicious view of non-Americans.
In the same way the Americans justified the use of African slaves because they were seen as mere animals with little intelligence or feeling or that God put them on earth to be used by White European Christians and their descendants .

Wrong Kind of Intelligence: U.S. Drones Killing Children in Afghanistan WASHINGTON - March 3 - KATHY KELLY, JOSHUA BROLLIER at Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)

Kelly and Brollier are with Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Kelly said today: “The drone intelligence and all of the other surveillance available to the U.S. military couldn’t help bomber pilots figure out, on March 1, 2011, that the nine people they believed to be insurgents, on a mountainside in the Pech Valley, were actually children. An article reporting General Petraeus’s apology for the tragedy quoted a spokesperson who said that four of the nine boys killed were seven years old, three were eight, one was nine years old and one was twelve. One child was also wounded. He said the children were gathering wood under a tree in the mountains near a village in the district.

“Zekirullah, a young Afghan friend of mine, is 15 years old. He rises at 2:00 a.m. several mornings each week and rides his donkey for six hours to reach a mountainside where he can collect wood — scrub, brush and twigs. He loads the wood onto his donkey and then journeys home where he and his family stack the wood on top of their home. They don’t have appliances to heat the home, and even if they did the villagers only get electricity for two hours a day, generally between 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Families rely on their small children to go out and collect fuel for heat during the harsh winters and for cooking year round. Tiny laborers, wanting to help their families survive, mean no harm to the United States. They’re not surging toward us, trying to threaten us. They are children, not unlike our own.

While the American federal government and state government are facing a financial crisis and cutting essential services and basic services for the poor and the working poor the sick and infirm the military budget is being increased.
Is Obama incapable of saying no to the military establishment and its corporate friends( after all a corporation is now a person too.)
So who's to blame for massive budgets and deficits in the USA the poor not so much
Odd how the US military is to some extent as bad as the military in Pakistan having far too much influence on the US government. In so doing it they get to write their own cheques and setting their own policies and objectives . War becomes a racket when Generals who will profit more if there is perpetual war. It feeds the beast. Moloch has his needs.
Retired Generals become CEOs or consultants in a corporation which will increase its profits if there is a war.

So many Generals are always thinking about their future so why not send a little business to this or that corporation in hopes of a lucrative

On America Financial Crisis 's Deficit and the cost of being a militarized state.

$1.2 Trillion Spent on the Military While the Rest of Us Fight Over Crumbs
Laura Saunders GRITTV March 6, 2011.

$1.2 Trillion Spent on the Military While the Rest of Us Fight Over Crumbs
So after all that cash is gone, what are we left with? Not a whole heck of a lot for the rest of us. March 6, 2011

There’s been a joke going around the labor protests. It goes something like this:

A union member, a CEO and a Tea Party member are sitting at a table with 12 cookies. The CEO grabs 11, turns to the Tea Partier and says “The Union’s out to take your cookie!”

I’ve been thinking that the joke applies pretty well to another situation. For instance, the military. Our military spending grabs 11 cookies and leaves us all battling over the 12th

Christopher Hellman at TomDispatch added up all the military-related spending in the budget and came to a startling number: for fiscal year 2012, the actual military budget is something like $1.2 trillion dollars.

Trillion with a T.

Just to put that in perspective for a second, a million seconds is 12 days. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.

So after all that cash is gone, what are we left with? Not a whole heck of a lot for the rest of us. “Discretionary” spending is nearly 40% of the budget, but if Hellman’s numbers are accurate, that $1.2 trillion eats up nearly 90% of discretionary funds, leaving just 10% for the rest of us. (That doesn’t include mandatory spending on things like Social Security and Medicare, which are separate.)

To be fair, Tea Partiers have called for military spending cuts, too. Rand Paul, hardly a progressive, pointed out that you could cut all of the non-military discretionary spending and not balance the budget—and Politifact rated it True.

The point behind the joke still holds, though. Instead of fighting over the last crumbs, maybe it’s time to team up and grab some of the cookies back from the people who’ve been hanging on to far more than their share.

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv,

" The Afghan War is Brutal, Expensive, Unpopular, and Ineffective – So Why Are We Spending Billions on It? " by Sonali Kolhatkr CommonDreams March 3, 2011Leading Afghan Feminist Wants the U.S. and NATO to Leave Her Nation

by Sonali Kolhatkar
"The sad truth is that Obama’s war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than I expected.” – Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords

While millions of Americans are experiencing unemployment, wage stagnation, rising tuition, dwindling social services, and poverty at levels not seen since the Great Depression, an unjustifiably large proportion of our taxes are being used to cause death and destruction in Afghanistan. With Afghanistan being the longest war the U.S. has ever officially waged, we should carefully examine the costs of the war - financial and otherwise - and ask ourselves, is it really worth it?

The war costs taxpayers between $500,000 to $1 million per soldier in Afghanistan every year. Since President Obama deployed thousands of more troops than Bush, the escalating war has come with a bloated price tag. So far, we have spent $336 billion on the war, and if Congress approves a request for additional funding, that number will go up to $455.4 billion – nearly half a trillion dollars. According to, just the $120 billion in additional funding could fund 1.6 million elementary school teachers for a year, 1.9 million firefighters for a year, or $5,550 Pell Grants for 19.3 million students. A single month’s expenses on the Afghanistan war could pay for 46.9 billion meals for the hungry each month. Six months’ worth of Afghanistan war expenses could pay for school supplies for every single child in the world.


In addition to its financial price, the Afghanistan war is costing real human lives. Over the course of the entire war, at least 1,400 U.S. troops have been killed and over 10,000 wounded. The rate of deaths is also increasing, as more than a third of the total troops killed (499) died just during the past year. The price paid by ordinary Afghans is even greater. Not counting so-called insurgents, at least 2,412 civilians were killed and 3,803 were wounded in just the first 10 months of last year – these are most likely conservative estimates. The rate of Afghan civilian deaths is up 20 percent compared to the year before, directly corresponding to the increased troop levels under President Obama. In fact, over the course of the war, U.S.-led military actions have resulted in more direct civilian deaths (5,791 - 9,060) than “insurgent”-led actions (4,949 - 6,499).

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