Wednesday, Oct 07th

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The Real Cost of Vietnam

Vietnam warThe commemoration of the end of the Vietnam War this week in 1975 will be lost on many Americans who are too young to recall the tumultuous events of the Indochina wars. (We also bombed Laos and Cambodia mercilessly in the same period.)

The iconic photographs of the U.S. helicopter about to lift off from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, with desperate Vietnamese scrambling to board, as the final reckoning are symbolic but also misleading. The image of the "pitiful, helpless giant" misleads because the U.S. military had almost completely withdrawn many months before after having laid waste to Vietnam, north and south, for nearly a decade.


The Terrible Legacy of Agent Orange

agent orangeI wanted to put it all in the context of today’s Vietnam, forty years on. To see victims of the second and third generations, where and how they live. To learn why children and grandchildren of people affected are still being born with disabilities, to find out if people know about the dangers, and if so when did they found out.

And to take pictures of all that.

As we got closer to the former front lines travelling from the north, the number of cases increased. We kept in touch with VAVA, the main association helping victims, and they gave us much needed information, including the number of victims and where they live.


Americans have yet to grasp the horrific magnitude of the ‘war on terror’

Warr on terrorEven as the U.S. expands its military involvement in the Middle East and delays the troop drawdown from Afghanistan, the staggering human toll of the U.S. “war on terrorism” remains poorly understood.

A new report (PDF), whose release last month coincided with the 12th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, attempts to draw attention to civilian and combatant casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet the study, authored by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other humanitarian groups, barely elicited a whisper in the media. Washington’s preoccupation with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other regional conflicts has largely obscured the humanitarian, economic and political toll of its “war on terrorism.”


Body Count Report Reveals At Least 1.3 Million Lives Lost to US-Led War on Terror

body count: war on terrorHow do you calculate the human costs of the U.S.-led War on Terror?

On the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, groups of physicians attempted to arrive at a partial answer to this question by counting the dead.

In their joint report— Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the 'War on Terror—Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concluded that this number is staggering, with at least 1.3 million lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone since the onset of the war following September 11, 2001.


Afghanistan gave CIA money to al Qaeda for diplomat's ransom

CIA gave million to Bin ladenAbout $1 million provided by the CIA to a secret Afghan government fund ended up in the hands of al Qaeda in 2010 when it was used to pay a ransom for an Afghan diplomat, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had at first been concerned about the payment, fearing the CIA knew about the money and had tainted it with poison, radiation or a tracking device, the Times said, and suggested it be converted to another currency.


Afghan war civilian casualties reached record-high 10,000 in 2014

Afghan civilian casualtiesA new record of 10,548 civilians died or were wounded in the war in Afghanistan in 2014 – alongside a number of other new, deadly records.

Civilian casualties were up 22 percent from the previous record in 2013. The number of women and children either killed or wounded reached record highs, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Casualties from suicide attacks, roadside bombs and explosive devices also broke records.

The United Nations has been recording the war in Afghanistan since 2009.


$14 Million an Hour: The War on 'Terror' Has Cost $1.6 Trillion

war on terror costIn the 13 years since 9/11, the United States’ “War on Terror” could be considered a failure. ISIS swept aside the US-backed Iraqi army earlier this year, the Taliban still launches deadly attacks, including an assault on a school last month that killed 145 people, and American interventions only seem to worsen sectarian bloodshed in the region.

The geopolitical disaster has come at a tremendous cost to American taxpayers, according to a recently released report by the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan government organization. The report estimated that since 9/11 American taxpayers have shelled out close to $1.6 trillion on war spending (that’s $14 million an hour), with almost 95 percent of that money going projects related to Iraq and Afghanistan.


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