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Would Obama Declare 3 Days of Peace to Pay for Food for Starving Afghans?


By Ralph Lopez - Posted on 26 November 2011

The most little-understood fact of war, in my opinion, is the sheer, mind-boggling, nearly incomprehensible magnitude of the money which is spent on a daily basis to keep the occupation and boom-and-zoom operations going.  Former General Barry McCaffrey put the "burn rate" of US taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan at $9 billion per month, which is fully one-half the average yearly state budget for the 50 states. Two months of this kind of spending is the entire Pell Grant appropriation for 2010.  

More than one-third of that "burn rate" (and you have to hand it to McCaffrey for not caring how this sounds to the public, literally burning taxpayer money) is fuel costs, both aviation and ground.  Time reports that:

...international accounting firm Deloitte puts the cost of fuel for the additional troops at nearly $1,000 a day per soldier — more than $350,000 per year.

That's $350,000 per year, per soldier, each of the 100,000 or so of them.

The profit margin on fuel contracts is cost-plus, and awarded to private vendors throughout the year, plenty to go around no campaign contributor left behind.  You can go to the FBO.gov website (Federal Business Opportunities) and if you have a refinery or distribution business, bid for a contract.  Who actually gets them is a bit murkier, as many criteria are subjective and this is where keeping up your end of political campaign contributions doesn't hurt.  Quid pro quo between campaign contributions and business benefits has been clearly shown by MapLight.org in other arenas, and there is no reason to believe the same does not hold true with defense contractors and contracting.  

MAPLight.org found that congressmen who voted for TARP, the "Troubled Assets Relief Program," received nearly 50 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services industry than congressmen who voted no. Legislators who voted for the automobile industry bailout in 2009 received an average of 40 percent more in "contributions" from that industry than those who voted against it. And House Energy and Commerce Committee members who voted yes on an amendment in 2009 favored by the forest products industry, to allow heavier cutting of trees, received an average of $25,745 from the forestry and paper products industry. This was ten times as much as was received by each member voting no.  

 BBC reports:

"More than 2.5 million people face hunger in drought-stricken areas of Afghanistan despite billions of dollars of aid that have poured into the country in recent years, aid agencies say. Many villagers have only limited supplies of food left as winter looms...

The problem is not that food cannot be gotten through to the northern areas where starvation threatens as much as sheer neglect and political will.  We know this because in the same BBC report the U.S. openly admits that large amounts of assistance are delivered in the south of the country, where most of the fighting is:

Aid agencies have been concerned for some time about the amount of aid directed towards conflict areas of Afghanistan.  Much of it is designed to win hearts and minds through "quick impact projects" in insurgency-plagued provinces in the south and east of the country. According to a US Congressional study, 80% of US aid has gone to troubled regions

2.5 million are in imminent danger.  A reasonable estimate for a relief operation would be $1 worth of foodstuffs, protein/vitamin-enriched flour, cooking oil, etc., per day, per person, since most people there are already living on less than a dollar a day.  That's 2.5 million times 90 days or about $250 million for a solid commitment to warding off hunger during the three harshest months of the winter.  

That's a lot of money, right?  Depends on what you mean by a lot of money.  Referring to the above figures on fuel costs alone, this is what is spent on the fuel part of the occupation every three days.  Put another way, declare peace for three days, no flying no driving around the countryside "waiting to get hit" by an IED, as one soldier said, and the whole thing is paid for.  

What would the Taliban do?  Say "no, you must starve?"  The Taliban is nothing if not public relations-savvy and would know when something is a no-winner.  Besides, some of those kids starving might be their own kids.  

None of this is a substitute for a policy of reparations which bolsters Afghan-led development, which has been almost deliberately neglected for the last ten years.  The failure of direct aid in the north is a microcosm of the greater, almost deliberate neglect on the part of the US to support the many avenues available, over the last ten years, for delivering meaningful assistance to Afghans wishing to rebuild the country's war-torn basic infrastructure, and instead directing billions toward foreign contractors and their subsidiaries who soak up 40-60 percent of the funds for profits and overhead.   But on the way out, and we must get out, we can do something right for once.

UN World Food Programme country director in Afghanistan, Louis Imbleau, is adamant that the food crisis can and must be avoided. Of the effects of severe malnutrition on children who survive, Imbleau says:

   "it's irreversible and should just not be allowed to happen. It should not be allowed to happen."

We are calling on Obama to declare a three day halt on all military travel in Afghanistan that is not absolutely essential, as well calling on Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, to support this.  A three day moratorium on fuel expenditures would pay for food and relief for millions of Afghans threatened with starvation. Pass Rep. Barbara Lee-Rep. Ron Paul H.R. 780: “Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act” – “To provide that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan” (emphasis mine.) As part of an orderly withdrawal we demand Congress devote 5% of one year’s cost of military operations as reparations, to jump-start Afghan-run infrastructure programs run by the indigenous, honest, and efficient Afghan National Solidarity Program.

"[Why can't we] get some of the people in these downtrodden countries to like us instead of hating us?" – President Dwight Eisenhower, March 1953 Meeting of the National Security Council

White House Facebook page

Kerry's Facebook.

White House
Comments: 202-456-1111
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Switchboard: 202-224-3121

RAWA (2008): "Hunger Could Kill More People in Afghanistan Than the Taliban"

The diarist is co-founder of Jobs for Afghans.

"Would Obama Declare 3 Days of Peace to Pay for Food for Starving Afghans?"

Realistically speaking, with great chagrin, I doubt very much that Obama cares to do anything good or right, and suggest that people not let their hopes become too high.  Otherwise, disappointment will be much more painful than it is when realizing that, no, it isn't realistic to believe that Obama would care about starving Afghans.

He hasn't given us any reason to believe that he'ld care about any human rights or lives, lives of innocent people anyway.  Caring is "bad for business", Obama et al clearly believe.

Remember 2008?  I was among the many USA'ns who opposed the campaigns of Obama, Clinton and McCain, because absolutely none of them could be vetted.  So Obama's crimes were expected and it's very frustrating that he was elected, but that's been the sole disappointment, really, that USA'ns blindly supported a candidate for President without vetting him very carefully. Care-free voters are the disappointing factor, for there was absolutely no way that Obama could be vetted.  He provided ample proof of this as a Senator, proof his electors chose to ignore and/or downplay.

I'm USA'n, though living abroad, in Ca, but it's a little better than being in the USA, where I'ld be surrounded by sheeple treating Obama, in 2008, as if he was a messiah of some good sort; blindly believing him when his Senatorial years had already proven, "No way, José, can he be truly vetted, for there's nothing vettable about him.  He's criminal!".

Meanwhile, Canadians have similar problems, so no, it's not a great country, either.  It's a struggling country, as is the USA, though hit much less in terms of the current economic crises.  Politically, however, I don't perceive a big difference.  Both governments are corrupt, allies, and so on.

Where is Planet Utopia, and how can we get there, as well as, how long does it take to get there?

And no, I'm not Libertarian.  The leadership of the Lib. Party helped to ensured that the H-1B racket would put many USA citizens and immigrant residents OUT of the job market; totally wiping me out, economically, by August 1999, and sending me to purgatory for more than the following decade; total wipe-out.  Because I knew what was going on, being an IT professional caught up in all of this racket, on the "wrong" end or side of it, I either wrote to the LP leadership, or posted a comment in response to one of their H-1B rah rah rah, cheerleading articles, telling them they were definitely and very wrong.  Response basically was that I should shut up and accept this racket "movement", in silence; accept and endure being outted from the job market so that treachorous fellow citizens could work on "get rich quick" scheming.

So I'll never be supportive of LP for political leadership.  Bill Still or Stills produces interesting video clips about the economic crisis, but the moment that I learned that he's LP and which happened only over the last month or so, I let him know of my pov about the LP.

If, by any chance, any readers of this post want to learn about the H-1B racket, then search the Web for Norman Matloff on this topic. He's a Dr of computer science and professor at UCDavis.edu.  In his part of that university's website, he has very good articles on the H-1B racket, but he's also given interviews and they can be found at other websites.  So, it's only necessary to do a Google for "Norman Matloff" and "H-1B".  He's been the best and leading advocate against this racket, starting before it was even put into legislation by Bush Sr.  Clinton triply worsened the problem for us, and by far most Americans totally or else extremely ignored what the hell was going on and they, therefore, supported this f*cking racket against US citizens and immigrants who were being outted from the job market.

As the old saying goes, "Ignorance is bliss".  As long as we're ignorant, we blissfully make atrocious decisions or choices, and are very lucky if and when happening to, just by chance/luck, get anything right.

Word from the wise : Wake up!

Jesus of Nazareth : Always remain vigilant, so alert, or else you'll be fooled!

Give us INDEPENDENCE!  We don't have any need of or for the Dem., Repub. or Lib. Parties.  We need crticially objective and, therefore, independent people; not racketeers and sheeple.

We can hardly defend/protect and uphold the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and the international laws, treaties and conventions that we're co-signatory to, unless we're acutely vigilant and independent thinkers.  We have to critically think for ourselves, and that requires alertness and objective thinking.

We don't have only starving Afghans to consider to be able to realize that Obama doesn't care, won't do anything significantly good about this situation.  Obama's worse than Bush Jr was, and that's while Obama's not as dumb as Bush Jr, or doesn't seem to be anyway; seeming to be a little less dumb animal.  But besides the starving Afghans, we can also consider the many millions of starving Africans, and much else.

Obama isn't a "Mafia boss".  He works for "Mafia bosses", instead.  "Good" little puppet.

Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, etc; all gangsters, terrorists, etc.

Ask yourself, Why would Obama who was given a Peace Award... Go after a Man that HE called an Evil Dictator who the U.N. Was preparing to give a Human Right's award to?

The Only bad thing was NATO blew everything up that Gaddafi had been building for years. However the BBC: Lied and said that Gaddafi had used "Cluster Bomb's" on his own people. If that were so, WHY would the U.N. be giving a Human Rights awars to Gaddafi?

More White House LIES. Like Iraq and Afghanistan. Dick Cheney, For the Record.

Link to Gaddafi's Human Right's Award. PDF Download.

Obama is too busy covering up for his WAR CAMPAIGNS. The Peace Maker.

Al Qaeda's Flags fly freely in Libya. Oh, And this is what a Real REBEL is. LINK  or LINK

With the Constant DRONE Attacks in Afghanistan that kill little boys collecting Firewood or Wedding Parties and now the new added tensions with Pakistan over the massive Packistan Army Deaths from NATO killing them, The Drone attacks forced Pakistan to KCK the U.S. OFF it's Bases where the Drones were killing 60+ Civilians.

Then we have the PROUD U.S. Military who are now GROWING Opium and Heroin and Marijuana for the Afghans. Oh it is Illegal Here in the States, But it is Important that we use Our Military to FEED Afghanistans BILLION DOLLAR Export Business.

Why would Obama take 3 days to call a Cease Fire and loose out on the Crash Crop that Exports to China and Russia?

Obama just gave a Speech on the State of the Economy that all shoulf listen to.

 


Have a Great Day.

K7KTR

Informed Activist

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