|Friday, February 08|
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|·|| Savage Capitalism or Socialism: A Conversation with Luis Britto Garcia |
|Sunday, February 03|
|·|| Canada vs. Venezuela: The Background Gets Even Murkier |
|Thursday, January 31|
|Monday, January 28|
|·|| The History - and Hypocrisy - of US Meddling in Venezuela |
|·|| Canada Is Complicit in Venezuela's US-Backed Coup D'état |
|Wednesday, September 26|
|·|| Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide |
|Friday, September 21|
|·|| US Disregard for International Law Is a Menace to Latin America |
|Saturday, August 25|
|·|| How Long is the Shelf-Life of Damnable Racist Capitalist Lies? |
|Thursday, August 09|
|·|| Martial Law By Other Means: Corporate Strangulation of Dissent |
|Wednesday, August 08|
|·|| North Korea and The Washington Trap |
|·|| Venezuela Assassination Attempt: Maduro Survives but Journalism Doesn't |
|Sunday, May 20|
|·|| The British Royal Wedding, Feelgoodism and the Colonial Jumbie |
|Friday, May 04|
|Monday, April 09|
|·|| The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet |
|Tuesday, March 20|
|·|| Finally, Some Good News |
|Thursday, March 15|
|·|| Zimbabwe Open for Business, Code for International Finance Capitalism |
|Friday, January 12|
|·|| Shadow Armies: The Unseen, But Real US War In Africa |
|Wednesday, December 13|
|·|| The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was |
Inside U.S.A.: Rumsfeld: Venezuela 'Overspending'|
Posted on Saturday, January 21 @ 23:10:59 UTC
Topic: Meet the Fourkers
By Dave Lindorff, counterpunch.org |
What are you supposed to do when the world's most over-armed, belligerent and dangerous nation, which outspends all the rest of the world combined on arms, and which is the major arms supplier to the rest of the world, tells a little country like Venezuela that it is guilty of spending "too much" on its military?
The initial response is laughter. What a joke, right? Venezuela, awash in oil revenue and feeling a little threatened by threats from the United States to assassinate its leader and by U.S. funding for groups that are trying to foment a coup, wants to spend a few hundred million bucks on planes from Spain and Brazil to modernize its airforce, and the U.S. State Department gets all worked up.
The transactions are something "we would consider an outsized military buildup," says State Department flak Sean McCormack.
"Outsized military buildup?"
What does McCormack call the $441 billion US military budget for 2006 (up four percent from last year)? Note that Venezuela has a population of 25 million, about 1/12 of the size of the U.S., yet its military budget, which actually declined in recent years while U.S. military under Bush soared to Cold War levels in real dollar terms, is just over $1 billion--less than 0.25% of the American military budget.
So which country, the U.S. or Venezuela, is guilty of an "outsized military buildup"?
Of course, none of this is pointed out in the US media stories reporting U.S. efforts to block Venezuela from buying the planes from Spain and Brazil. The accusation that Venezuela is "spending too much" on military equipment, and that the country's military spending could "contribute to destablization" in Latin America are simply quoted and allowed to stand.
For the U.S. to complain about countries "destabilizing" Latin America is of course an even bigger joke than the State Department complaining about Venezuela's outsized military spending. After all, how many Latin American countries has Venezuela overthrown the governments of lately? None. How about the U.S.? Well, let's see, in recent memory, there's Grenada, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua and...oh yes, the U.S. hand was behind the coup that briefly toppled Venezuela's elected president Hugo Chavez from power--a coup the Bush administration initially endorsed publicly, until public mass demonstrations in the country brought Chavez back from arrest and into the Presidential palace again.
So let's have a good laugh at this latest complaint from the State Department. How do these guys say things like this with a straight face?
And yet, it's pretty tragic too, when you start thinking about it.
It's certainly true that Venezuela could put that $200 million it wants to spend on fighter jets to better use helping to build houses and schools.
It's even truer that the U.S. could help alleviate the suffering of the 30-40 million Americans living in poverty and attending schools with 40+ kids in a class, if it weren't wasting $442 billion on arms.
Maybe President Chavez should say something about that.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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