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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Endless aftermath

War makers’ mendacity, war’s consequences
Re-reporting, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett 
The Eisenhower Research Project derives its purpose from 34th U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address in which he warns of the ‘unwarranted influence’ of the military-industrial complex and appeals for an ‘alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ as the only force capable of balancing the often contrasting demands of security and liberty in a democratic state. 
A new report by the Eisenhower Research Project based at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University has found that U.S. wars will cost its people 3.2 to 4 trillion dollars — including medical care and disability for current and future war veterans.

The first comprehensive analysis of all U.S., coalition, and civilian casualties, including U.S. contractors, this ‘Costs of War’ project “assesses many of the wars’ hidden costs, such as interest on war-related debt and veterans’ benefits.…

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan will cost between $3.2 and $4 trillion, including medical care and disability for current and future war veterans. This figure does not include substantial probable future interest on war-related debt.

More than 31,000 people in uniform and military contractors have died, including the Iraqi and Afghan security forces and other military forces allied with the United States.

Conservatively estimated, 137,000 civilians have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The wars have created more than 7.8 million refugees among Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis.

Pentagon bills account for half of the budgetary costs incurred and are a fraction of the full economic cost of the wars.

Because the war has been financed almost entirely by borrowing, $185 billion in interest has already been paid on war spending, and another $1 trillion could accrue in interest alone through 2020.

Federal obligations to care for past and future veterans of these wars will range (total estimates) from $600 to $950 billion. This number is not included in most analyses of the costs of war and will not peak until mid-century.

Co-director of the Eisenhower Research Project Neta Crawford says, “There are many costs and consequences of war that cannot be quantified, and the consequences of wars do not end when the fighting stops… The Eisenhower study group has made a start at counting and estimating the costs in blood, treasure, and lost opportunities that are both immediately visible and those which are less visible and likely to grow even when the fighting winds down.”

Nevertheless, U.S. officials continue making wars on foreign lands and peoples and neglecting critical U.S. domestic needs. Democracy Now reports today on the U.S.’s continuing carnage.


“Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world,” AlertNet reports in its country profiles. “Health indicators are also among the worst in Africa. The maternal mortality rate is around one in 100.”

U.S. Drones target “militant Islamist group” in Somalia, the Democracy Now program headlines. The United States is now using drone missiles in attacks on “at least six countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. U.S. President Barack Obama “has greatly ramped up the U.S. use of armed drones.”

Somalia suffers climate change effect: Drought causing displacement, mass exit of refugees into neighboring Kenya.

In the midst of U.S. drone strikes, the Save the Children group has reportedly “estimated [that] 800 Somali children cross into Kenya every day to escape the drought.” The United Nations estimates the drought has caused dire hardship for “10 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, says, at the current rate of suffering and malnutrition, the future “level of deaths in Somalia [will likely] take us back almost 20 years and certainly be unparalleled in the recent decade.”

Developing countries or underdeveloped countries cannot develop when “rich” countries are bombing them back to antiquity.

When asking why poor people are poor and remain poor, it might be well to look at who is enormously rich, and how and why they are enormously rich.


Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world and home to a booming narcotics trade. The country struggles to recover from more than a quarter-century of conflict, with violence still raging in parts of the country. The Taliban are fighting to oust tens of thousands of foreign troops and Afghanistan’s Western-backed government.

Geo-strategic Pakistan, though receiving enormous aid, is scarred by conflict, buffeted by earthquakes and floods. Among the world’s biggest humanitarian emergencies are in Pakistan. The 2010 floods affected 20 million of its people, a fifth of the population.

Droned, post-floods, climate change

United States officials continue to intensify a drone war on Pakistan. Pakistan’s officials reportedly have “told the U.S. to stop using the Shamsi Air Base in the southwest of the country to launch drone strikes.”


Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed since a U.S.-led invasion toppled the country’s leader, Saddam Hussein, in 2003. Many people have been displaced. Others have fled abroad. Basic services have been devastated by sanctions and war. Violence continues to hamper aid operations.

U.S.-occupation, war claimed not to be war

In the deadliest month in three years, another three U.S. soldiers died yesterday “in [military] action in southern Iraq.” This month, at least 15 U.S. soldiers have died in this country; all except of one reportedly died in combat.

The Obama administration persists in claiming the U.S. combat mission in Iraq has ended.

Sources and notes

“Costs of War” Project — Estimated cost of post-9/11 wars: 225,000 lives, up to $4 trillion,” http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/06/warcosts

“U.S. Wars in Projected to Cost Nearly $4 Trillion With Hundreds of Thousands Dead — A new report is estimating the true cost of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end up being approximately $4 trillion — far more than the Bush or Obama administrations have acknowledged. The report also estimates between 224,000 and 258,000 people have died directly from warfare, including 125,000 civilians in Iraq. Brown University professor Catherine Lutz is the co-director of the ‘Costs of War’ report,” June 30, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/30/headlines

Department of Defense by Spc. Tia P. Sokimson, U.S. Army/Released The cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan are estimated at 225,000 lives and up to $4 trillion in U.S. spending, in a new report by scholars with the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.

“The Eisenhower Research Project is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit, scholarly initiative that derives its purpose from President Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, in which he warned of the ‘unwarranted influence’ of the military-industrial complex and appealed for an ‘alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ as the only force able to balance the often contrasting demands of security and liberty in the democratic state.”

Catherine Lutz, the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Brown University, co-directs the Eisenhower Research Project with Neta Crawford, a 1985 Brown graduate and professor of political science at Boston University.

The Costs of War has released its findings online, at www.costsofwar.org, to spur public discussion about America at war. Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.

Democracy Now headlines, June 30, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/30/headlines
Country profiles at AlertNet


The Middle or Near East consists of the lands around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. These lands extend from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, sometimes beyond. 

Some of the first modern Western geographers and historians who tended to divide the Orient into three regions gave the region the name Near East. In their three-region designations, the Near East applied to the region nearest Europe, extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf; the Middle East, extending from the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia; and the Far East, encompassing the regions facing the Pacific Ocean.

The change in usage from Near to Middle East began evolving before World War II and extended through the war. The term Middle East was given to the British military command in Egypt.

So defined, the Middle East consisted of the states or territories of —
Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon
Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Jordan
Egypt, The Sudan, Libya and
Various states of Arabia proper (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States, or Trucial Oman [now United Arab Emirates]
 Subsequent events have tended, in loose usage, to enlarge the number of lands included in the definition, among them —
Three North African countries: Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco“closely connected in sentiment and foreign policy with the Arab states”  
Afghanistan and Pakistan, because of geographic factors, state official and others take into account in connection with affairs of the Middle East. 
Greece occasionally is included in the compass of the Middle East because the Middle Eastern (then Near Eastern) question in its modern form first became apparent when the Greeks in 1821 rebelled to assert their independence from the Ottoman Empire). Turkey and Greece, together with the predominantly Arabic-speaking lands around the eastern end of the Mediterranean, were also formerly known as the Levant.

Historically the countries along the eastern Mediterranean shores were called the Levant. Common use of the term is associated with Venetian and other trading ventures and the establishment of commerce with cities such as Tyre and Sidon as a result of the Crusades. It was applied to the coastlands of Asia Minor and Syria, sometimes extending from Greece to Egypt. It was also used for Anatolia and as a synonym for the Middle or Near East. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the term High Levant referred to the Far East. The name Levant States was given to the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon after World War I, and the term is sometimes still used for those two countries, which became independent in 1946. Levant (from the French lever, ‘to rise,’ as in sunrise, meaning the east.

Use of the term Middle East remains unsettled, and some agencies (notably the United States State Department and certain bodies of the United Nations) still employ the term Near East.
Middle East. (2011). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica


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