Monday, July 21, 2014

     I find the recent reporting by the American media on the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 interesting in that it fails to report a similar incident as background.  On July 3, 1988 the US Navy ship Vincennes shot down a civilian Iranian airliner in Iranian airspace killing 290 passengers, 66 of whom were children.  Iranian Air Flight 655 was a regularly scheduled flight on its normal route and was struck by an American missile while climbing.  The Iranian aircraft was three times the size of a combat aircraft and was "misidentified" by the Vincennes state of the art electronic equipment operated by highly trained Navy professionals.
     Two wrongs do not make a right.  In this case only two tragedies.  But, "fair and balanced" reporting would provide perspective to the American public.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hiding the Cost
     If you are an American taxpayer who believes that the Pentagon budget of more than $500 billion per year is too big (it is larger than that of the next ten nations in the world combined) then I have a data point that may make you feel even more uncomfortable.  The Pentagon budget, I would argue, is understated by at least $150 billion per year because it does not include the Veterans Administration budget.  The cost of the VA would not exist but for the activities of the Pentagon.  It is also likely that the VA budget will rise at a faster rate than either the Pentagon budget or the overall federal budget over the next ten years.  Militarism is very expensive therefore its supporters work to obscure its total cost.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

     I find it ironic that the Congress of the United States is planning to sue the executive branch of the government for "failure to enforce the law and executive overreach".  The irony is that Congress has, for decades, abdicated to the president the power to go to war.....perhaps the most important decision that any nation makes.
     Article one, Section eight of the Constitution states that "Congress shall have the power to...declare War".  The last time they did so was June 5, 1942.  Every significant military operation initiated by the United States since then (Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War I, Afghanistan, and Iraq) has been initiated without a constitutionally based declaration of war as provided for by the Founding Fathers.  Rigorous debate and an unambiguous vote by each member of Congress on a declaration of war may reduce our current tendency to go to war and our steady march toward militarism.