U.S. State Department: United States Uses Casualties to Support Military Action; Pentagon Declined to Count Civilian Casualties Caused by U.S.’s War Conduct
Military action is wasteful in terms of human lives, lost potential, and money. The focus should be on uniting as human beings for the good of human beings, not endless wars waged on poor countries by rich countries. Military action is not justified in Syria; reliance on body counts to justify action is also hypocritical when the U.S. government refuses to count the people killed as a result of its own military actions.
Today, U.S. State Department provided a count of the casualties caused by the chemical weapons attack in Syria–1,429:
A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children, though this assessment will certainly evolve as we obtain more information. (page 1)
Yet, when the United States was asked to provide a count of civilians killed in its military action waged in Iraq, U.S. General Tommy Franks said, “We don’t do body counts.” Yet, the United States government is conducting a body count today.
The chemical weapons attack in Syria is offensive, but there are judicial bodies set up to bring people to account for their wrongdoing. Bombs and military action are blunt instruments; no one can control the devastation they cause. How accurate are these bombs? Can all people be convinced that this proposed bombing will only hurt the targets of the operation? Suppose the bomb goes astray and kills innocent civilians instead. What would be the response of those who dropped the bomb?
The United States must avoid taking sides in a civil war. Instead, it should focus on getting the disputing sides to peacefully negotiate their differences and end the bloodletting.
David Ignatius: Military Action Against Syria Not Justified; Statement to Support Warmongering Deceptive
In a column, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius mentioned a disagreeable statement:
“Among Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Israeli politicians, and other conservative players in the Middle East, the consensus seems to be that [U.S. President Barack] Obama is a weak president–and that they need to rely on themselves for security.”
This statement is disingenuous because it assumes that power to strike militarily is equally shared. It is not; thus, Ignatius is putting forth an argument that is meant to encourage yet another misadventure in the Middle East. The United States has long had sanctions against Syria, yet now is the time for another regime change operation, after the Pyrrhic victories of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, an objective look at the facts shows that Ignatius’s intentions with his column are less than pure and, thus, are best to be ignored.
|State||United Nations P-5 Member||Population (in millions)||Nuclear Weapons||Gross Domestic Product (in U.S. dollars)|
|United States||Yes||313.9 (2012)||Yes||14.99 trillion (2011)|
|United Kingdom||Yes||62.74 (2011)||Yes||2.445 trillion (2011)|
|Russia||Yes||143.0 (2011)||Yes||1.858 trillion (2011)|
|Israel||No||7.766 (2011)||Yes||242.9 billion (2011)|
|Egypt||No||82.54 (2011)||No||229.5 billion (2011)|
|Saudi Arabia||No||28.08 (2011)||No||576.8 billion (2011)|
|Syria||No||20.82 (2011)||No||59.15 billion (2010)|
|Iran||No||74.8 (2011)||No||331.0 billion (2010)|
|Lebanon||No||4.259 (2011)||No||40.09 billion (2011)|
|Iraq||No||32.96 (2011)||No||115.4 billion (2011)|
|Afghanistan||No||35.32 (2011)||No||19.18 bilion (2011)|
Source: For population and gross domestic product, Google. For nuclear weapons, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat. For United Nations, www.un.org/en/sc/members/.
In this post, I am updating the tables in a previous post with 2012 and some 2013 numbers.
The first chart below shows the amount of subsidy funding that Metro receives from Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. The second chart shows Metro’s income from fares and parking fees. It seems that the states and the passengers essentially share equally in paying for the operating expenses of Metro.
The third chart shows the number of trips taken in Metro vehicles. Rail trips declined, while bus trips increased. It would be interesting to find out reasons for these numbers.
|State||Amount of Funding|
|(components are rounded; in millions of dollars)|
|FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013|
|District of Columbia||201.6||214.15||233.3||249.1|
*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of cash flows.
|Passenger Fares and Parking Fees|
|(rounded; in millions of dollars)|
|FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013|
|Actual*||727.8 (6/30/10)||804.5 (6/30/11)||816.7 (6/30/12)|
*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in net assets. This statement does not identify parking fee revenue; I used the total revenue amount in the table.
|(in number of trips)|
Data for 2010 comes from Metro’s 2010 Media Guide. Data for 2011 and 2012 comes from Metro’s Metro Facts.
Private meetings with Investment Professionals Inappropriate; Attendees Acquire Valuable Nonverbal Information
The Washington Post had an article describing how political intelligence firms are setting up meetings with staff members of the White House in order to provide ostensibly public information to interested persons in private meetings. These meetings also occurred with congressional staff. All of it is inappropriate, as nonverbal information is also given out at these meetings; information that would not show up on transcripts, yet is very valuable to these elites. No normal citizen, without significant personal wealth or political connections, would be able to have such access.
These private meetings with investment professionals with congressional staff and now White House staff are not innocent or just taxpayers seeking information. These meetings are an thinly disguised effort to gain nonverbal information not available to the public. If all these Wall Street staff wanted is public information, why do the appropriate press offices of the various government offices just provide a link to the information on their websites? Why are not these discussions of public information video recorded and posted publically so that all taxpayers may benefit?
This type of meetings must end because the information provided at the cost of the taxpayer is only provided to a select few elites to make a huge profit or gain advantage over others.