the maneuvering of members of the UN Security Council, war against Iraq
will probably break out by early next month.
we have seen, both supporters of and protestors against war, is the
awesome might of the United States of America — of its ability,
nevermind the impact of the 9/11 attacks, plummeting stocks, a sluggish
economy — to flex its military and economic muscle.
to Colin Powell, this war will cost America US$65 billion. Most analysts
are using the figure of US$95b. The costs of cajoling countries, such as
Turkey and Jordan, to use their land and airspace could be as much as
US$10 billion in grants, and another US$20 billion in loan guarantees.
(These figures do not include the costs to the UK or Australian
governments.) The cost of re-building Iraq, after the carpet bombing, vary
from US$250 billion to as much as US$650 billion (if the war is longer or
if oilfields are destroyed) over 10 years.
the figures above and using relatively conservative estimates, this war is
going to cost about US$560 billion. This averages out at US$56 billion
every year for the next 10 years (the estimates for number of deaths range
we have seen is in cases of presumed need or risk, money can be found.
February 2002, the World Health Organisation released a report aimed to
capture the attention of rich countries. It focussed on the costs of
reducing deaths of the three most dangerous diseases in the world:
HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
to the report, the figures are:
World Health Organisation says it can cut the number of HIV/AIDS deaths by
a quarter (ie, save some 750,000 lives); pretty much eradicate TB as a
killer, (save 1.9 million people a year), and prevent new infections. And
it can reduce malaria deaths and infection by 75 per cent, which is
750,000 people and 225 million fewer new cases. They need US$18 billion
more each year to do this.
there are 3.35 billion cases of illness and 5.3 million deaths caused by
unsafe water (diseases such as dysentery diarrhoea, cholera) each year.
a release dated March 19, 1999, the UN said it would cost an additional
US$17 billion a year over 10 years to give every person clean water.
UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2002 report pointed out with US$21
billion a year, it could provide basic healthcare worldwide.
three requests for funds total US$58 billion and promise to save about 11
million lives this year. And a WHO official states, “You don’t need to
sustain these donations indefinitely. Healthy people can get themselves
out of poverty.”
$US58 billion for healthcare worldwide is strikingly similar to the
figures being carved out of the US budget for a war and its aftermath.
you support Bush and Blair or the French and Germans, you would have to
agree on the reality that the lives of 11 million people require at least
as much attention as Iraq.
the US government, to anyone listening: You have proven you can mobalise
money for war; will you do the same for Project “Aids,” Project
“Malaria,” Project “TB,” Project “Clean Water?”
would be fantastic, wouldn’t it, to see the hundreds of thousands on the
streets now protesting war with their damming placards, cheering the
Americans instead? And to be blessed, instead, in the prayers of the 11
million people whose lives you have saved every year.
the money spent on these projects pump up the world economy? Wouldn’t it
be an easy part of that “stimulus package” for the US economy to
stipulate that all projects use American-made goods from water pumps to
part of the war against terrorism, such projects would be far more
effective than any bombardment, because bombing is about as effective as
capital punishment. It doesn’t stop thugs or terrorists from
mushrooming. You can’t catch them all by bombarding one or two
countries, but you can win their hearts.
none of those appeals are enough, consider real politic.
moral position and goodwill that such a pledge would make must be worth a
lot in day-to-day negotiations, especially if you know that you can appeal
to the peoples’ support over the heads of their politicians.
commitment like this would give the USA the moral authority it craves, and
would underscore the leadership position it now seeks in the world. I know
the chance of aid for the poor and unwell diverted to 11 million people at
risk is about as possible as the USA and France changing their minds.
Odd world we live in. A dozen men behind closed doors,
deciding who should live and who should die.