According to an Oxfam International report released in July this year, "43 percent of Iraqis suffer from absolute poverty," and that according to some estimates over half the population are now without work. "Children are hit the hardest by the decline in living standards.”
IPS highlights the point that the Iraqi government is unable to supply the rations with several billion dollars at its disposal, whereas Saddam Hussein was able to maintain the food program with less than a billion dollars.
Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that the growing costs of the wars in
According to an Oxfam International report released in July this year, "43 percent of Iraqis suffer from absolute poverty," and that according to some estimates over half the population are now without work. "Children are hit the hardest by the decline in living standards.”
"Iraqi children are paying far too high a price," said Roger Wright, Unicef's special representative for
Unicef, the UN's children's fund, said young Iraqis were caught up in violence, with hundreds killed or injured. An average of 25,000 children a month have fled violence or intimidation this year, with their families seeking shelter across
Only 28 per cent of Iraqi 17-year-olds have sat their final exams, while safe drinking water for children remains scarce, according to the UN.
Despite the urgent needs of Iraqi children, Unicef received only $40 million towards its $144 million appeal for
"A new window of opportunity is opening, which should enable us to reach the most vulnerable with expanded, consistent support," Wright said. "Iraqi children are the foundation for their country's recovery ... We continue to owe them our very best in 2008 and beyond."
Accompanying photos show the ocean view from the restaurant, the seafood theme mosaics, and the gorgeous backdrop where monkeys, orangutans, and tigers roam!
Update: See completed restaurant
Courses conducted include:
- Early Learning Techniques
- Sight Reading and Encyclopedic Knowledge
- Motivational Teaching Skills and Methodology
- Classroom Control and Discipline
- Group Management
- Classroom Organization and Management
- Time Management
- Basic English Skills and Communication
- Story Telling
- Mega Skills: Character Building
Additionally, FESF produces a series of educational audio/visual materials that are widely used in schools and institutions throughout the country. Other FESF activities include music therapy for mentally and physically handicapped children, organizing activities for orphaned and homeless children, and educational seminars for parents.
Today I toured the Deaf Reach Training Center in
, where all ages of deaf people, both male and female, receive training. (A similar school operates in and a new branch is presently being established in )
Surprised at the findings? The index is less about total funding (although, per capita, the U.S. is no world leader by that measure either), and more about how well aid dollars reach their beneficiaries.
Those principles, among other things, enshrine the goals of humanitarian aid as alleviating suffering according to need, irrespective of political goals, and in a way that supports long-term development.
For the U.S., a mediocre ranking reflects mixed performance. While funding is allocated relatively well along international guidelines, much of the country's aid is tightly earmarked for specific projects or comes as physical goods instead of cash.
It's bottom of the pack in implementing international humanitarian and human rights laws, having refused to ratify key international treaties. Survey responses also rank U.S. aid lowest in perceptions of "neutrality" and "independence" from political and strategic considerations.
5. European Commission
8. New Zealand
9. United Kingdom
16. United States <<<<<
Or is it the $3.5 trillion figure cited by Ron Paul, when expressing concern about the true cost of this war.
Given that the overall defense budget is now double what it was when Bush's father presided over the end of the Cold War, at a time when we don't have a militarily sophisticated enemy in sight, you have to wonder how this president has managed to exceed Cold War spending levels. What has he gotten for the trillions wasted? Nothing, when it comes to capturing Osama bin Laden, bringing democracy to Iraq or preventing oil prices from tripling and enriching the ayatollahs of Iran, while messing up the American economy.
But that money could have paid for a lot of things we could have used here at home. As Paul points out, for what the Iraq war costs, we could present each family of four a check for $46,000.
On the matter of covering the medically uninsured in America, it should be pointed out that we are the lone industrialized nation which can't afford to covered 47 million uninsured Americans.
[Excerpt of an article by Robert Scheer, Yahoo News]
The report said that some 122,000 Iraqi children - the equivalent of one in eight - died in 2005, before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of the deaths were among newborn babies in their first month of life.
“Since 2003, electricity shortages, insufficient clean water, deteriorating health services and soaring inflation have worsened already difficult living conditions.”
The study listed pneumonia and diarrhoea as major killers of children in Iraq, together accounting for over 30 per cent of child deaths.
“Conservative estimates place increases in infant mortality following the 2003 invasion of Iraq at 37 per cent,” it said.
Experts draw parallels between the dire state of Iraq’s health care system today and the way it was when the country was under sanctions during the 1990s, when there was a similar limited supply of drugs and other medical resources.
[Excerpt of article by Hind al-Safar, IWPR contributor in Baghdad]
Take almost any yardstick and Bush generally exceeds the spending of his predecessors.
When adjusted for inflation, discretionary spending — or budget items that Congress and the president can control, including defense and domestic programs — shot up at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent during Bush’s first six years, Slivinski calculates, topping the 1.9 percent of Ronald Reagan.
Discretionary spending went up in Bush's first term by 48.5 percent, not adjusted for inflation, more than twice as much as Bill Clinton did (21.6 percent) in two full terms, Slivinski reports.
Defense spending: Under Bush it's grown on average by 5.7 percent a year. Under LBJ — who had a war to fund, too — it rose by 4.9 percent a year. Both numbers are adjusted for inflation.
Including costs for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending under Bush has gone up 86 percent since 2001, according to Chris Hellman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Current annual defense spending — not counting war costs — is 25 percent above the height of the Reagan-era buildup, Hellman said.
The Boston Globe has taken a unique view of the latest Iraq War funding request, offering a look at what the $611.5 billion that would be spent so far on the war could buy if it was not used for the military operation.
Among the findings:
"According to World Bank estimates, $54 billion a year would eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally by 2015,
"...while $30 billion would provide a year of primary education for every child on earth.
At the upper range of those estimates, the $611 billion cost of the war could have fed and educated the world's poor for seven years.
• The $611 billion in war costs is 17 times the amount vetoed by the president for a $35 billion health plan for the States.
• $611 billion translates into almost 14 million free years of education at Harvard University.
[Excerpt of article by Joe Strupp, The Boston Globe]
The hundreds of thousands of people missing in Iraq are just the tip of the country’s looming humanitarian crisis, the International Red Cross warned today.
Around 375,000 of the population have vanished due to continued fighting, sectarian, ethnic, and religious violence and forced displacement, said Karl Matley, outgoing head of the Iraqi branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
A report called 'Humanitarian Tragedy in Iraq' said the missing included tens of thousands who were held in the custody of Iraqi authorities and the multinational forces.
The Geneva-based independent humanitarian organisation works to protect the lives of victims of war and internal violence also highlighted the issue of detainees in Iraqi jails, which exceed 60,000 prisoners. The ICRC has been allowed to visit “only a small portion” of them, he said, without providing the number.
A previous CBO estimate put the wars' costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money.
"The number is so big, it boggles the mind," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.
The CBO estimates assume that 75,000 troops will remain in both countries through 2017, including roughly 50,000 in Iraq. That is a "very speculative" projection, though it's not entirely unreasonable, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the non-partisan Lexington Institute.
As of Sept. 30, the two wars have cost $604 billion, the CBO says. Adjusted for inflation, that is higher than the costs of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
But the risks associated with that strategy have become increasingly apparent in recent months, as Al Qaeda and the Taliban have gained strength in Pakistan's northwest frontier area despite billions of dollars in military aid to Musharraf's government since the Sept. 11 attacks.
That funding is Washington's main source of leverage over Musharraf. But officials said that it would be risky for the United States to withhold such aid to pressure Musharraf to reverse the emergency powers he decreed Saturday, acknowledging that the United States is dependent on Pakistan and can't afford to alienate its leadership.
The United States is likely to continue to scold Musharraf but not impose significant sanctions.
[Excerpt of article by Greg Miller, LA Times]
How the money is divided among the 16 intelligence agencies and exactly what it is spent on is classified. It includes salaries for about 100,000 people, multibillion dollar secret satellite programs, aircraft, weapons, electronic sensors, intelligence analysts, spies, computers and software.
For comparison, last year's intelligence spending was about half the $91 billion President Bush is proposing to spend over the coming year on the Agriculture Department, and somewhat more than the $35 billion budget of the Homeland Security Department.
National security analysts outside the government usually estimate the annual budget at about 10 percent of the total U.S. defense budget, which in 2007 was about $430 billion plus nearly $200 billion in war spending. These analysts believe around 80 percent of the intelligence budget is consumed by the NRO, NSA, DIA and NGA, the national military intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile the Pentagon is offering huge bonuses to hold onto its top warriors: The Pentagon's Special Operations Command is paying reenlistment bonuses of up to $150,000 to Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs to keep them from fleeing the military to take high-paying jobs with private security contractors such as Blackwater USA.
Armed security professionals working in Iraq and Afghanistan for firms such as Blackwater can earn as much as $500 a day -- $130,000 a year.
Doug Brooks, president of the industry group International Peace Operations Association, tells the AP that the typical 19-year uniformed veteran receives about $63,000 a year.
US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.
A complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor's office by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation of Human Rights. as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit.
This is the fifth time Rumsfeld has been charged with direct involvement in torture since 9/11.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said it was forced to suspend its audit of the DynCorp contract after administration officials told investigators they had no confidence in their own accounting records. The inspector general said the agency had not validated the accuracy of invoices received before October 2006 and described bills and supporting documents as being in disarray.
INL does not know specifically what it received for most of the $1.2 billion in expenditures under its DynCorp contract for the Iraqi Police Training Program. INL's prior lack of controls created an environment vulnerable to waste and fraud," SIGIR said in an interim review.
The report coincides with a controversy over the use of private security firms in Iraq, particularly Blackwater USA, which is under scrutiny over a Sept. 16 shooting incident in Baghdad in which 17 people were killed. The Pentagon employs at least 7,300 security contractors in Iraq and the State Department thousands more. U.S. officials say they are needed to free up soldiers for other tasks.
Eggemeyer pawned everything he could and then he went to get help, from Tony Reese, a Veterans Services representative working for Martin County, Florida. Reese let Eggemeyer use his office as his address and made sure that James showed up at all his appointments. He checked that all of James's documents were in order and used the VA computer system to ensure his claim was on the right bureaucrat's desk at the regional office in
But even with that, the process dragged on. Indeed, the VA's own statistics show that Specialist James Eggemeyer received what could best be described as "standard treatment".
Since the start of the
[Excerpt of an article by Aaron Glantz, IPS]
The finance and economy ministers of
"There will not be credit subjected to economic policies. There will not be credit that produces a calamity for our people and as a result, it will not be a tool of domination," said Venezuelan Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabeza.
Chavez speaks of liberating regional countries from the tutelage of the IMF, the World Bank and the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which, he argues, impose economic policies that condemn millions to poverty.
Bolstered by robust economic growth, Latin American countries are displaying a new assertiveness toward the IMF now that several of them -- notably
The Bank of the South is supposed to finance public and private projects for development and regional integration. The official launch and the signing of a founding charter is set for November 3 in
Blackwater's Prince has a problem with people calling his mercenaries well ... err ... mercenaries. He appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes," and said with a straight face, "You know the definition of a mercenary is a professional soldier that works in the pay of a foreign army. I’m an American working for
Erik Prince's mercenaries make a great deal of money. They're paid much, much, much more than the average
Prince would probably insist that the people in his employ are motivated by a desire to serve the
One wonders too -- as it relates to his men being hired out to corporations -- how Erik Prince would defend his company against the mercenary charge? Is the person defending an oil company's platform in
[Excerpt of article by A. Alexander, Progressive Daily Beacon]
This unprecedented use of mercenaries has masked the depths of
[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis,
Unresolved questions are likely to touch off new criticism of Bush's conduct of the unpopular Iraq war, especially given the broad definition of unlawful combatants the president has used in justifying his detention policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The designation of lawful and unlawful combatants is set out in the Geneva Convention. Lawful combatants are nonmilitary personnel who operate under their military's chain of command. Others may carry weapons in a war zone but may not use offensive force. Under the international agreements, they may only defend themselves.
The issues surrounding the private security contractors are being examined by lawyers at the departments of State, Defense and Justice. Disagreements about the contractors' status exist between agencies and within the Pentagon itself.
[Excerpt of an article by Julian Barnes, LA Times]
The [September 16th] incident in question regarding Blackwater needs to be put in a proper context. It's just one company out of 181 other private military companies operating in that space in
[Concerning the 20-minute Blackwater gun fight in September Nisoor Square shooting] a couple hours later, Secretary Condoleeza Rice calls up Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, which is extraordinary because she normally doesn't call him. She calls to express her sympathies and to apologize for this Blackwater incident. Over the next week, she and Ambassador Crocker have to keep going back to the Iraqis, and they are almost actually begging them to let Blackwater get back into business. One week later, Bush meets with Prime Minister Maliki face to face. … Top of the agenda is Blackwater.
Isn't it interesting that the same government individual, who has been reported by one investigative committee to have made the initial decision for Blackwater to get its first contract, is the brother of the current State Department Inspector General, who was found, by the same committee, to have [previously] intervened in preventing an investigation into Blackwater's illegal activity?
[Excerpt of an article by Wajahat Ali, Counterpunch]
The talks about Blackwater's future in
“The Iraqi government should demand that the United States stops using the services of Blackwater in Iraq within six months and replace it with a new, more disciplined organization that would be answerable to Iraqi laws.''
American officials said DynCorp, which already has security contracts with the State Department … appeared poised to take over the Blackwater role. … Dyncorp and Triple Canopy are the only [other two] companies eligible to bid on specific task orders [in Baghdad, with] both based in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, coalition commander in 2003 and 2004, called the Iraq war "a nightmare with no end in sight," for which he said the Bush administration, the State Department and Congress all share blame.
Sanchez [said] dereliction of duty by a military officer would mean immediate dismissal or court martial, but the politicians have not been held accountable.
Sanchez, who retired in 2006, said it was his duty to obey orders and not object publicly when he was on active duty, but now that he is retired he has an obligation to speak out.
Why, in this upside-down world do so many blue-collar Americans vote Republican, and family farmers support a President whose Wall Street friends would gladly push them off the land?
Why do people shrug and say "tough", when they read that hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their homes, after falling victims to crooked mortgage salesmen?
Perhaps the greatest political riddle of the
If it were otherwise, then surely John Edwards, the telegenic Democratic candidate for President would lead the polls since he has dedicated his campaign to lifting tens of millions out of poverty.
Instead it is Hillary Clinton, whose economic policies might as well have been drafted by the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, who looks a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.
The coming presidential election will reveal the extent to which ordinary poor Americans will proudly vote themselves out of jobs, off the land and ensure that their children can never afford to go to university or afford health care.
[Excerpt of an article by Leonard Doyle, The Independent]
The old saying that one reaps what one sows is just an accurate observation of the way human history plays out. We have sown and we are continuing to sow a lot of hatred for ourselves.Surveying the world, I see very few countries where the people have any reason whatsoever for liking us. They may be powerless at the moment to express their hatred, but power, like victory, is also ephemeral.
One of our faults is that we have been conditioned by television and short political cycles to think in the short term. The truth is we have been players on the stage of history only for an instant. We have won the sprint, but the story of mankind is a marathon.
Should you ever visit
Ask yourself if you would fly to
War is the most horrible thing one group of people can inflict on another. War destroys lives, homes, families, economies, cultures and the future. It kills and maims and impoverishes. The fallout from war is hatred, and like radioactivity its poison can linger for generations.
Anyone who looks at the present leadership, both those in office and those aspiring to office, and feels good about the future is a heck of a lot more optimistic than I am. Corruption, both monetary and intellectual, is so deep and entrenched in our society that it will take a miracle for us to survive it.
[By Charley Reese, King Features Syndicate]
The three daughters, Aless, 12, Karown, 20, and Noraa, 21, were doubled up in tears as they crowded around their mother’s simple wooden coffin, which was decorated with a small golden cross.
[Their mother] Marou Awanis, a part-time taxi driver, and one of her women passengers, both Armenian Christians, became the latest victims to die at the hands of a foreign private security team in
The killings also heightened a sense of outrage towards private security companies, in particular Blackwater, which many people regard as a private army that acts with impunity.
Unity Resources Group, an Australian security outfit based in
Witnesses and police said that Mrs Awanis, who had been driving two women and a child, mistakenly got too close to a Unity Resources convoy and came under immediate gunfire from the guards.
Scores of relatives and friends gathered at the main Armenian Church in
About 10 percent of
Seated at a rectangular table covered with a red and white tablecloth, the boys tell stories of horror and displacement. Eighteen-year-old Qutaiba lost five immediate family members before moving to
Most of the boys and young men from
All say, though, that they feel lucky to have gotten out, even if the violence in their country means always having to be on the move, ready to live far from home and away from loved ones.
"It's not strange for me to be in the middle of people I don't know," says eleventh grader Ziad Tarek Al Shamsi. "I had friends in
The population shift in the
Iraqi authorities want the
The government, at the conclusion of its investigation, said the compensation — totaling $136 million — was so high "because Blackwater uses employees who disrespect the rights of Iraqi citizens even though they are guests in this country."
The demands — part of an Iraqi government report examined by The Associated Press — also called on U.S. authorities to hand over the Blackwater security agents involved in the Sept. 16 shootings to face possible trial in Iraqi courts.
The tone of the Iraqi report appears to signal further strains between the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the White House over the deaths in
The Iraqi investigation charges the four Blackwater vehicles called to the square began shooting without provocation. Blackwater contends its employees came under fire first.
It said Blackwater's license to operate in
One of the officials said the firm involved was a "Western private security company." The name of the firm has not been released. Blackwater
A man who said he witnessed the shooting told CNN he believes the women in the car became frightened when the security detail fired warning shots. "Yes, they killed those two women," said the man. The women "were sitting in the front ... and there were two kids, but the two kids -- nothing happened to them."
The Blackwater incident on September 16 produced an outcry in
With a president who vows not to lead another "spoon-fed" African country "enslaved" by international donors, Eritrea, a small, secretive nation on the Horn of Africa, has walked away from more than $200 million in aid in the last year alone, including food from the United Nations, development loans from the World Bank and grants from international charities to build roads and deliver healthcare.
President Isaias Afwerki, a former Marxist rebel who has led
Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country's citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention,
It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in
[Excerpt of an article by Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times]
A former South African military officer who runs his own security firm conceded that most of the nation's best special forces trainers now are on the
Sensitive to its apartheid-era reputation for exporting soldiers of fortune to wars across Africa, the young, black-led government in
Wages for private contractors who work as bodyguards, convoy escorts and oil field security workers in
A Blackwater spokeswoman said no South Africans were currently employed by her security firm in
Titan and CACI International were hired by the Army to provide interrogators and interpreters at the notorious prison, the scene of well-documented abuses of detainees following the US-led invasion of
One former Iraqi prisoner now living in
“This case represents our last hope for getting some accountability for the torture in
But US security companies in
[Agence France Press]
As if they haven't done enough damage bombing and invading a country on false pretences, destroying its culture and leaving it a charred shell of its former self, American lawmakers now want to divide
The Iraqi government was quick to put a damper on the proposal. Its spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said "It's the Iraqis who decide these sorts of issues, no-one else". According to a recent ABC/BBC poll a mere nine per cent of Iraqis favor the break-up of their country.
How about a vote on the break-up of
Let's restrict Caucasians to the East and West coasts, and package-up a few states in between for African Americans and Latinos. And while we're about it, let's invite foreign conglomerates to buy up the country's oil, gas and timber.
Surely if such uninformed nose-poking is good enough for Washington, it's equally appropriate for the rest of us.
[Excerpt of an article by Linda S. Heard, Gulf News]
Little is being done to attend to the needs of what now amounts to nearly 5 million Iraqi refugees. Based on US actions, it appears the
Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May: “How many Iraqi refugees did the
Supporters of the war and now the surge ought to be forced to defend their position by addressing these critical moral and strategic questions -- Is it not our moral obligation to attend to the plight of the millions of refugees we created through this war? And is it not our strategic interest to help resettle refugees to prevent our allied Arab states from buckling and collapsing under the weight of the flood of refugees?
We did this to
[Excerpt of an article by Sameer Lalwani, The
Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page "spot report" on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy's
That office -- which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions -- has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.
Blackwater says its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack on a convoy. The State Department "spot report" underscores that scenario and doesn't mention civilian casualties.
However, those accounts are at odds with what the Iraqis are saying. A senior Iraqi National Police official participating in the Iraqi governmental probe of the shooting said the Blackwater gunfire was unprovoked and the guards fired randomly, killing several civilians and wounding others
The senior Iraqi police officer said that Blackwater team members were questioned by Iraqi police immediately after the incident and initially said they opened fire in response to a mortar attack. However, he said, they then changed their story at least twice during the 90 minutes they were held.
A report prepared by the staff of committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, released details from Blackwater's own reports of multiple incidents involving Iraqi casualties and said in most instances (84%) Blackwater fired first. State Department rules say Blackwater's actions should be defensive rather than offensive.
The memorandum also slammed the State Department's oversight of Blackwater and said it was often more interested in getting the company to pay off victims' families and "put the matter behind us" than in investigating what happened.
In a shooting incident on Dec. 24, 2006, a security guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi was killed by an allegedly drunken Blackwater contractor, who was then flown out of the country and faced no charges, the memorandum said.
The State Department's charge d'affaires recommended Blackwater pay $250,000 and give an "apology." Waxman noted the State Department's diplomatic security said that was too much and would cause Iraqis to "try to get killed." Eventually Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment.
In another incident where Blackwater shooters killed an "innocent Iraqi," Waxman said the State Department requested only a $5,000 payment to "put this unfortunate matter behind us quickly."
"I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was," the doomed plane's cockpit voice recorder captured the pilot saying shortly before the November 27, 2004, crash.
The account of the crash emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Blackwater's performance in
"You're an X-wing fighter Star Wars man," an NTSB report quoted the plane's co-pilot, Loren Hammer, saying during the flight -- a reference to the dizzying battle in the 1977 film.
"You're [expletive] right. This is fun," the pilot, Noel English, responded.
About eight minutes later, the plane slammed into the wall of the canyon, which was flanked by ridgelines that rose nearly a mile above surrounding terrain.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, is chairman of the oversight committee, which is investigating Blackwater's performance on more than $1 billion in
“The people who are starving and have to rely on food aid, they will suffer,” Jean Ziegler, who reports to the United Nations on hunger and food issues.
“We fear the steady rise of food prices will hit those on the front lines of hunger the hardest,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program.
She warned that food aid spending would have to rise just to keep feeding the same number of people. But the appropriations bill for the coming year now moving through Congress does not promise any significant increases in the food aid budget.
The food aid declines may also continue. Catholic Relief Services, a major distributor of American food aid, has projected substantial increases in what the federal government pays for food aid next year. “It’s bad news and it’s not just going to affect
This year’s decline in food aid follows a period when the sharply escalating costs of shipping American-grown food aid to Africa and
[Excerpt of an article by Celia W. Dugger, The New York Times]
When combining totals for arms sales to developed and developing nations, the ranking of world arms dealers remained the same. The
The study makes clear also that the United States has signed weapons-sales agreements with nations whose records on democracy and human rights are subject to official criticism.
[Excerpt of an article by Thom Shanker, The New York Times]
Additionally, the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into a $70 billion "bridge fund" to provide new infusions of money for the occupation.
Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed appropriations process is completed -- probably in November -- the Congress has just approved a massive increase in war funding.
The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote, save one. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. Said Feingold, "I am disappointed that voted on a continuing resolution that provides tens of billions of dollars to continue the misguided war in
"Each year this war is getting more and more costly --- both in the amount of money spent and in the number of lives lost. Now this Congress is providing more funds so the administration can continue down a path of destruction and chaos," said
[Excerpts of an article The Nation]
There are 180,000 to 200,000 U.S.-paid mercenaries in
These private enterprise fighters, like the Renaissance's Italian condotierri, German landsknecht, and Swiss pikemen, are lawless, answering to no authority but their employers. Democrats in the U.S. Congress are rightly demanding these trigger-happy Rambos to be at least brought under American military law.
Vice-President Dick Cheney took
How ironic that colonial
[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis,