surrender intervening boeing wto

How should US engage the world?
state aid afghan war military spending

How Much Are You Paying in Taxes for War This Year?

When the US flexes its military muscle, it destroys some foreigners and enriches some domestics. Anything wrong with that picture? We trim, blend, and append three 2011 articles from: (1) USA Today, Apr 7 on waging war by Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist, and Bob Beckel, a Democratic strategist; (2) TruthOut, Apr 7, on war taxes by Robert Greenwald (Brave New Foundation); and (3) BBC, Mar 31, on the WTO.

by C. Thomas & B. Beckel, by R. Greenwald, and by BBC

Cal: America cannot be "the policeman of the world." George McGovern was talking about Vietnam, and he took a lot of heat. Richard Nixon's re-election team called him a white flag-waiver and accused him of wanting to surrender to the communists. Given our involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya, I'm starting to think he was on to something.

There is a larger question that needs to be debated and should be part of next year's presidential campaign: What is America's role in the world? When should our military be deployed, and when should we just let people fight their own battles?

We need to support those who are committed to democracy, religious tolerance, and pluralism. It does no good to exchange one dictatorship for another.

Bob: Countries that have histories of tribal or ethnic governance for hundreds of years will do it their way, even as American academics, policymakers, and ideologues sniff their disapproval. We can take sides and not know with any certainty that "our side," if victorious, will emerge as a democracy.

Cal: We would be fools to think we can right every wrong by force.

Bob: Bill Clinton has said his greatest regret was not intervening in Rwanda to stop the massacre of a million people. The US, and indeed the world, still lives with the bloody stain of that inaction.

Cal: A lot of us would like to get those we are assisting to help pay the bill. I hear gas in Libya is about 40 cents a gallon. Maybe we could get the war equivalent of a pre-nup. If we're going to help you, be prepared to receive an expense report.

Bob: When Iraq leased rights to drill in their untapped oil fields, US extractors lost the bidding. China and Russia, among others got it. Some countries are poor and unlikely to help pay for the war. We should expect countries that ally with us to help foot the bill.

Cal: Some countries like Britain have stepped up with blood and treasure, but few others have.

Bob: Any future conflicts in which the US is engaged (and are not a direct threat to our national security) should always be in a coalition with other countries. The days of the United States going it alone should be over.

To see the whole article, click here

JJS: In the US, the above is what passes for Right vs. Left. Both commentators say that invaded nations should pay to be invaded. Neither speaker addressed fundamental issues such as
land rights. Nor the fact that
wars are waged with weapons supplied by few nations and the biggest exporter is the US.
Weaponry and the rest of the military budget keep a few corporations and their owners rolling in heaps of lucre. Finally, neither mentioned
the cheaper, less bloody, and often more effective nonviolent alternatives to killing foreigners, especially when most victims are civilians, not soldiers.
Perhaps these points may enter the mainstream debate, now that Americans are getting fed up with wasteful government spending.

According to the National Priorities Project, 27.4% of our income taxes will go to pay for the Afghanistan War and other military spending. Already the taxpayer is on the hook for $107.3 billion just for this year, and just for the hugely expensive Afghanistan War.

The Pentagon and their political allies want the president to ignore the clear will of the American people, who want troops out within a year. It will cost us $1 million per troop to keep forces in Afghanistan this year. Bleeding that many resources on a war that's not making us safer all the way until 2014 is losing, regardless of what General Petraeus' spin shop tells us.

Winning would mean unhooking our country from a decade-long war and being more free to pursue objectives that are actually in our national interest, instead of going with a 10-year-long mistake.

To find out how much you paid in taxes for war, use the Afghanistan War Tax Calculator: click here . To send Congress the message that we want this wasteful war stopped now, forward this tool to your member of Congress. To act in concert, join Rethink Afghanistan on Facebook and Twitter, and find others in your hometown who oppose this war at your local Rethink the Afghanistan War Meetup.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: The cozy relationship between Congress and weaponeers extends to the corporations’ non-weapon products, too.

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing received at least $5.3bn (£3.3bn) in unfair aid from Washington, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has concluded.

The subsidies included money for research and development from the NASA space agency and tax breaks, a panel of international trade judges has ruled.

Last year the WTO said that Boeing's archrival Airbus had received illegal aid from European governments.

The two companies have been at war over state aid for almost six years.

Both companies claimed that the WTO's latest ruling bolstered their case.

Boeing said that the WTO's ruling on the size of its aid, $5.3bn, was dwarfed by the $20bn that Airbus had received.

Europe had claimed that Boeing had received ten sorts of illegal subsidies worth $19.1bn between 1989 and 2006.

The WTO has recommended that the US withdraw the subsidies.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Politicians are now the only ones to spend public money. But it’s hard for them or anyone to resist the temptation to line one’s own pockets given so many millions at stake. So a few get even richer, governments get even poorer, and the world gets more violent.

There is an alternative: we could spend our own money ourselves. We could replace such subsidies with a Citizens Dividend.

From whence the cash? From all the money society spends on the nature it uses. And such a “rent-share” would go further once we lower the cost of living by eliminating all the counterproductive taxes on earnings, enterprise, and edifices.

It’s called geonomics and it has worked wherever tried.

Now we ought to implement geonomics to bring about long-needed peace.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Also see:

Get real about language, but get real about people, too

US outspends everyone on arms, funding enemies, to

Major daily US paper pushes cutting war spending

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