Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 14 May 11 - 17, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
to be American?
to Alternative Reader Index
Garner wants us to be proud. The man in charge of rebuilding Iraq was quoted in
the New York Times on Thursday saying, "We ought to look in the mirror and
get proud, and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say, 'Damn,
Jay, I am sorry to say that I am not feeling it. American soldiers shooting
unarmed Iraqi demonstrators and killing at least 17 in two separate incidents.
American police officers firing rubber and wooden bullets at unarmed American
demonstrators outside of Oakland. Thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in a
so-called precision war for their liberation. A multibillion dollar empire
building effort underway in Iraq that is masked as a humanitarian reconstruction
effort, while children are hungry, seniors are without medication, and education
is less and less accessible right here in USA.
are people profiting from war- and Jay Garner the proud American is one of them.
And there are those who are not.
Jay Garner the head of the Pentagon's new Office of Reconstruction and
Humanitarian Assistance. In that capacity he is overseeing and coordinating the
relief and rebuilding efforts in Iraq. He is also a personal friend of Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
is also the president of SY Coleman, a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, a high
tech defense contractor that specializes in missile-defense systems and makes
the targeting systems for conventional weapons. He is not retired from that
position, he is on "leave" or on "loan." And he is profiting
February Garner's company announced that its revenue in the most recent quarter
had soared to $1.3 billion-up from $705 million a year ago. They attribute the
windfall to a doubling of military communications and electronics sales.
Overall, the company expects a 20% increase in sales and earnings this year.
is good news for the company and its stockholders, but how can the people of
Iraq trust a man who has garnered millions making the targeting systems for
missiles that destroyed their country?
the Bush administration were to consciously set out to pick a person most likely
to raise questions about the legitimacy of the post-war rebuilding process, they
could not have selected a better man for the job than Jay Garner. As one
observer noted, "If it's not a conflict of interest, it's certainly being
weapons industry- companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop
Grumman- are also pretty tone deaf. With the country on a permanent war footing,
the sky is literally the limit for America's second most heavily subsidized
new report from United for a Fair Economy, "More Bucks for the Bang: CEO
Pay at Top Defense Contractors," found that the boys with the big guns
making the big bucks.
CEO pay at the 37 largest defense contractors rose 79 percent from 2001 to 2002,
while overall CEO pay climbed only 6 percent. The typical U.S. CEO made $3.7
million in 2002, while the typical defense industry CEO got $5.4 million.
average Army private risking his or her life in Iraq is paid just $19,585- just
about the national poverty rate. The average defense CEO made 577 times as much
in 2002, or $11,297,548.
we know who is benefiting from war- but who is on the losing side? We are. We
are more insecure and more threatened than ever before.
is plenty of cash to pay for war and empire building in Iraq, but when it comes
to meeting the American public's need for housing, health care, food, education
and other necessities, the cash drawer is empty.
Bush administration asked Congress to provide the Pentagon with $399.1 billion
for 2004. That is a huge amount of money. That is more than a billion dollars a
day. That is more than $12,000 a second- a year of college tuition.
put it in relationship to what other countries spend, the U.S. military budget
is almost seven times larger than what the second largest spender- Russia
budgets for defense. It is more than 26 times the combined spending of the seven
countries the Pentagon identifies as enemies. The Congressional Budget Office
estimates that military spending will continue to increase at an average of 8% a
year through the end of the decade. Meaning that by 2010, the military budget
will top out at almost $700 billion.
military budget does NOT include the costs of war in Iraq. The administration
has put those costs in a separate $75 billion "emergency
United States is spending more than a billion dollars a day on the military,
while a whole spectrum of domestic needs are severely under-funded. As the
Congress prepares to figure pay top dollar for war, they are planning cuts in
just about everything else, including veterans benefits and education. House
Republicans are suggesting $14.6 billion in cut to veterans programs, including
money for disabilities caused by war wounds, rehabilitation and health care,
pensions for low income veterans, education and housing benefits, and even
burial benefits. They are also proposing to cut the education budget by 10.2
percent below the already reduced level proposed by President Bush.
see the effects of budget cuts and neglect already. According to the Children's
Defense Fund, nearly one million black children live in dire and extreme
poverty. In an alarming increase over 2000, the economic circumstances of black
children further deteriorated so that more families were living on just over
$7,000 a year-- that is half the national poverty line of $14,100 for a family
developed a factsheet for the War Resisters League that compares what the United
States spends on war to the costs of educating and caring for children.
Bush has asked Congress for $75 billion to pay the initial costs of the war in
Iraq. For that same amount, we could hire 1,155,715 Elementary School Teachers
to educate America's children.
have a lot of work to undo the damage, repair the hurt and rectify the
imbalances of the "bombs over bread" policies of the Bush
administration. Until we do that it will be hard for me to take Jay Garner's pep
Berrigan is a Senior Research Associate at the World Policy Institute's Arms
Trade Resource Center.
May 2, 2003
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