Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hierarchy of values

This is a heart warming story from the BBC:
UK Chancellor Gordon Brown has offered £960m ($1.8bn) over 15 years to an international scheme aiming to boost vaccination and immunisation schemes.
...If [Global Alliance for Vacines and Immunisation - GAVI ] could increase its funding for immunisation by an extra £4bn ($7.4bn) over 10 years, then an extra five million lives could have been saved by 2015 and five million thereafter, Mr Brown argued.
$7.4bn. 10 million lives. $7.4bn. 10 million lives. $7.4bn. 10 million lives.

UN Millenum Project has reported, with it's recommendations for practical resolution of the intractable issues of poverty (listed here in heart wrenching gobbet form - I'd reproduce them here in full, but I don't have the space - please read them. I'll probably add the link to my list in a while). These resolutions include such small measures as providing mosquito nets to help curb the spread of malaria.

Now, my point here, is that poverty is a breed of torture. The slowest and most wanton brutality that humans have ever inflicted upon one another. It is the worst of tyranny, the most brutal of dictators. Stripping people of decency, respect and turning them into little monsters of their own.

Pocket change could drastically cut it. What do we get instead? Bush to seek $80bn for war funds
Projected spending for 2005 tax year*:
$80bn request expected
$25bn already approved
Will take total cost of the two conflicts to almost $300bn
US costs in Iraq average $4.8bn/month
(*Tax year runs until October)
My point? Well, that for all the humanitarian language, even by the simplest of utilitarian thinking, without so much political capital being squandered, many more people could have been saved with that money that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars purprt to have done.

Indeed, if we look at defence spending generally, we see what a horrific squandering it is:
The [UK] defence budget for 2004/05 is expected to be £29.7 billion. Under the 2004 Spending Review, the budget will increase from £30.9 billion in 2005/06 to £32.1 billion in 2006/07.
Further, the US itself spent some $417.4bn on military affairs in 2003 (Source, British MOD). $7.4bn. 10 million lives.

Those who supported the recent liberations must also support this level of expenditure, this waste and misdirection, because it is the basis of the power from which the liberation was laucnhed. $7.4bn. 10 million lives.


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