Monday, September 29, 2008


Chalmers Johnson, at Asia Times, 30 September 2008 writes about US military spending (We have the money)

"On Wednesday, September 24, right in the middle of the fight over billions of taxpayer dollars slated to bail out Wall Street, the House of Representatives passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill for 2009 without a murmur of public protest or any meaningful press comment at all...

"One of America's greatest authorities on the defense budget, Winslow Wheeler, worked for 31 years for Republican members of the senate and for the General Accounting Office on military expenditures. His conclusion, when it comes to the fiscal sanity of our military spending, is devastating:

"America's defense budget is now larger in inflation-adjusted dollars than at any point since the end of World War II, and yet our army has fewer combat brigades than at any point in that period; our navy has fewer combat ships; and the air force has fewer combat aircraft. Our major equipment inventories for these major forces are older on average than any point since 1946 - or in some cases, in our entire history.

"This in itself is a national disgrace. Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on present and future wars that have nothing to do with our national security is simply obscene. And yet Congress has been corrupted by the military-industrial complex into believing that, by voting for more defense spending, they are supplying "jobs" for the economy.

"In fact, they are only diverting scarce resources from the desperately needed rebuilding of the American infrastructure and other crucial spending necessities into utterly wasteful munitions. If we cannot cut back our longstanding, ever-increasing military spending in a major way, then the bankruptcy of the United States is inevitable."

What did the people of the USA or Asia gain from the Vietnam War?

In Le Monde, 26 April 2008, Chalmers Johnson wrote: The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke

Among the points made by Johnson:

1. Bush's Pentagon failed to think about how it was going to finance its imperialist wars, just as Enron failed to think how it was going to finance its schemes.

2. In 2008, the United States is having a problem finding to money to maintain its 'high' living standards and its large military.

3. The Bush government puts off these costs for future generations to deal with.

In the 1930s, many top Americans were fans of the Nazis.

4. In the year 2008, the US is spending 'insane' amounts of money on 'defense' projects that 'bear no relation to the national security of the U.S'.

5. The US is keeping income tax very low for the very rich.

6. The US is losing factories and jobs to foreign countries. The US is unwisely trying to compensate for this by spending more on the miliary.

7. The US is failing to invest in 'social' infrastructure, such as education, health pollution control and the provision of manufacturing jobs.

8. The US military budget for 2008 is larger than all other nations' military budgets combined.

Destruction in Vietnam

9. The supplementary budget to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China.

10. Defense-related spending for 2008 will exceed $1 trillion.

11. Defense spending has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.

12. Some 30-40% of the defense budget is 'black,' involving hidden expenditures for classified projects.

Vietnam War civilians

13. Members of Congress profit from defense spending and pork-barrel projects in their areas.

14. $23.4bn of Department of Energy money goes on developing and maintaining nuclear warheads.

$25.3bn in the Department of State budget is spent on foreign military assistance (primarily for Israel).

The Department of Veterans Affairs gets at least $75.7bn.

Neglected Americans

$46.4bn goes to the Department of Homeland Security.

$38.5bn from the Department of the Treasury goes to the Military Retirement Fund.

$7.6bn goes to the military-related activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

There is well over $200bn in interest for past debt-financed defense spending.

This brings U.S. spending for the military to at least $1.1 trillion.

Certain US generals reportedly have always been fans of fascism.

15. In 2007, the U.S. Treasury declared that the national debt was over $9 trillion.

In 1981, the national debt was $1 trillion.

16. The US goes in for military Keynesianism: a permanent war economy.

"By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in U.S. manufacturing".

17. In 2007, the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington released a study on the long-term economic result of increased military spending. This study showed that after 6 years the effect of increased military spending turns negative. The study concluded: "most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment."

The historian Thomas E Woods Jr. noted that, during the 1950s and 1960s, between one-third and two-thirds of all U.S. research talent went into the military sector.

18. The US has seen a decline in its manufacturing industry and its basic infrastructure.


Friday, September 05, 2008

The influence of China and Iran in Iraq

Iraq photo by w:Christian Peacemaker Teams

Azzaman, on 3 September 2008, at writes that Iraq is said not to be in favour of U.S. firms developing its oil fields

According to Azzaman:

1. Sources at the Iraqi oil ministry say that Iran is pressuring Iraqi authorities to exclude U.S. oil majors from contracts to develop the country’s massive oil fields.

2. The sources at the oil ministry say the authorities currently favour Chinese and Russian companies rather than those of the United States.

3. In August 2008, the oil ministry signed a $3bn services contract with China’s state-owned oil firm CNPC. This relates to the Ahdad oilfield which CNPC originally agreed to develop in 1977.

China is the first country to win such a contract since the 2003 U.S. invasion of the country.


4. In 1977 Russia signed a deal to develop one of Iraq’s largest fields, West of Qurna.

5. The Ministry of Oil and other key portfolios such the Ministry of Interior and Finance are in the hands of pro-Iran Shiite factions.

Analysts say it is difficult today for any major development, whether economic or political, to take place in Iraq without Iranian consent.

6. Iran has emerged as the country’s top trading partner. Its firms are present in the Kurdish north and southern Iraq carrying out projects worth billions of dollars.

Iranian goods are the most conspicuous merchandise in Iraqi shops.

7. Iraq, though occupied and administered by America, has grown to be so pendent on Iran that some analysts see it as a satellite state of Tehran.


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