Famine and the US War Machine

July 22, 2011

(Illustration found here).

Dawn is still about 90 minutes away here on California’s northern coastline, and a thick Pacific fog compels this little corner of a world-gone-utterly bonkers to remain quiet and still.
And bonkers be it — there’s enough ugly going on right now to either make me so sad I want to cry, or get so mad I want to hit myself in the face hard with a claw hammer.

Sucking on an organic yerba maté drink, occasionally taking a bite off a big, delicious bran muffin, life inside this quiet, still moment is so-so-much better than a huge, humongous part of that world beyond — in some places there are no quiet, still moments, and for shit-sure there’s no mint maté drink and absolutely no bran muffins.

In the US, there’s a bad twist going on as the U.S. Census Bureau cited that 21 percent of America’s kids under age 18 in 2009 lived below the poverty line, while 13 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 lived in poverty.
In 2008, 17 million households, 14.6 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were ‘food insecure’ (old definition: no food), the highest number ever recorded in the United States.
One in five US children require food assistance.
What a mess.

Yet, that ain’t nothing to what’s happening the Horn of Africa where a drought has finally reached the famine stage and people are dying quickly, especially children.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of Somalis in need of humanitarian assistance has sharply increased to 3.7 million people in the last six months.

People are dying for lack of food — a lot of people would weep at a bit of my bran muffin.

And from Voice of America:

A new report issued by Brown University says the cost of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and operations in Pakistan — will cost the country nearly $4 trillion.
The report’s total is more than three times higher than U.S. President Barack Obama’s estimate in a recent speech.
When Obama recently announced a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, he said America’s wars have cost the country $1 trillion dollars.
But a report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies estimates the total cost at $3.7 trillion.

And $400-a-gallon fuel for Afghanistan — you’ve got to be shitting me.

From former US Congressman Alan Grayson in HuffPost this week:

Last year, we spent $154 billion in appropriated funds on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is in addition to the $549 billion in appropriated funds for the Pentagon — you know, just to keep the lights on.
And the non-appropriated cost of war was even higher — especially when you include the cost of care for the 15% of all the American troops in Iraq who come home with permanent brain abnormalities. According to Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, the war in Iraq alone is costing us $4 trillion and counting.
That’s more than $13,000 for every one of us, and roughly 8% of our entire net worth as a nation.
The cost of war is enormous.
So enormous that, as I pointed out in H.R. 5353, The War is Making You Poor Act, if we simply funded that cost through the Pentagon’s own budget, rather than through supplemental appropriations, we could eliminate taxes on everyone’s first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for married couples), and still reduce the deficit by more than $10 billion a year.

Guns or butter.
It’s not a new choice.
I prefer butter.
What about you?

Yeah, butter is better on a bran muffin than a F-22 Raptor.

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