Friday, December 16, 2011

US Budget: 60% Military Spending, 40% Everything Else


60% is the percentage of the president’s proposed 2012 discretionary budget targeted for military spending. This does not include all the budgeted spending, just the programs that get approved every year. Some groups argue if you look through the fine print of the budget that figure could be pushed even higher. It’s likely they are right. The pie chart below shows the same chart in more detail. You can see the full budget proposal on the Office of Management and Budget (our figures are from Summary Table S-11)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Iraq War Disaster

“There is no victory and no victors in the 20-year war. Except for a few war profiteers, everyone has lost. The U.S.-Iraqi war that started in 1990 has destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure and damaged the Iraqi social fabric. Iraq is far from having a functional democratic government. It is the fourth most corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International, and Baghdad is the worst city in the world according to Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living rankings. One million Iraqis have been killed in the last eight years alone, and another 5 million displaced. Millions of others have been injured and traumatized for life. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have been killed and wounded, and hundreds of thousands are back home with mental injuries. Iraq and the U.S. lost hundreds of billions of dollars because of the conflict.
“While ending the U.S. military occupation is a step in the right direction, the U.S. will continue its intervention in Iraq through 16,000 State Department personnel — half of whom are armed mercenaries. Downsizing the U.S. State Department’s mission in Iraq is very important to insure a balanced bilateral relationships is built on mutual respect. There is no reason for the United States to have a larger mission in Iraq than the Iraqi diplomatic mission in the U.S., which is estimated to consist of a few dozen employees.
“Today’s withdrawal is great news for the millions of Iraqis and Americans who have opposed this war all along. But ending the occupation does not end the U.S. moral and legal obligations to compensate Iraq and Iraqis for the crimes and mistakes committed in the last two decades. In addition, holding U.S. officials who caused this mess legally accountable will help achieve U.S.-Iraqi reconciliation, and it will send a strong message to future U.S. politicians that they will be held accountable.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inside Story Americas: Are there any winners of the Iraq war?

As the US prepares to pull out the last of its troops from Iraq, Aljazeera asks what is its legacy after nine years of war? Inside Story discusses with Hillary Mann Leverett, former White House official; Raed Jarrar, Iraq political analyst and Mark Kimmit.

My Interview on Russia Today

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Biden's Visit to Iraq

My interview on Democracy now today