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SHRED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 09:58 PM
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Do you feel safer yet?
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In New York City, my hometown, as in so many cities across the country, a hard-pressed local government and a desperate transit authority are cutting back on services while hiking prices for a deteriorating subway and bus system. For night workers and those out in the lonely, dark early morning hours, some bus lines are simply being eliminated. Meanwhile, in one small settlement of 14,000 people in embattled Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, a single marine platoon is spending on average $400,000 a month on reconstruction projects. The Marines have, according to a BBC reporter who visited, put up street lights, cleaned irrigation channels, handed out radios, paved the bazaar, built bridges, and are currently building a new school. Do I feel safer?

In the U.S., policemen and firemen are being laid off, and the budgets of police and fire departments cut back or, in a few small places, eliminated. In Afghanistan, the U.S., having already invested $20 billion in building up the Afghan police and military, is now planning to spend $11.6 billion more this year alone, $12.8 billion in 2012, and more than $6 billion a year thereafter. According to Washington's latest scheme, the Afghan security forces will be increased to 378,000 men in a poverty-stricken land, which means committing U.S. tax dollars to the project into the distant future. Do you feel safer?

In the United States, teachers are being laid off, class-sizes are on the rise, and tuition at public colleges is soaring. In Afghanistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) claims to have built or refurbished 524 schools and to be completing another 130 of them. Do you feel safer now?

In the U.S., basic infrastructure has been fraying, bridges collapsing, natural gas pipelines exploding, and projects like a commuter-rail tunnel connecting New Jersey to New York City are being canceled or put off. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, giant American-funded building projects are revving up (for which locals are being hired), especially a giant embassy/citadel in Kabul at the cost of $511 million (with nearly $200 million more going to the expansion of consular establishments elsewhere in that country). Meanwhile in Islamabad, Pakistans capital, another monster U.S. citadel-cum-regional-command-center is being built for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. Do you feel safer yet?

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175344/tomgram:_ira_chernus,_obama_trapped_by_myth/
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