Category Archives: War

Taking in Syrian Immigrants Immoral?

Recently, I was trying to find non-xenophobic arguments against the US taking in Syrian immigrants. I found a potential case in National Review (assuming the numbers truly are reliable). Two writers from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argue that it costs an estimated $12,874 per year (for the first 5 years) to resettle Middle-Eastern Refugees in the US while it may cost around $1,057 per year to move them to relative — if temporary — safety in neighboring Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Again, if this is true, we could assist roughly twelve times the humans by helping resettle Syrians into neighboring countries with the same resource investment.

But, should we be concerned about this study’s impartiality? Maybe. The same authors published a study last year for CIS warning that immigration in general is a problem, partly because Muslims (who, incidentally, make up less than 1% of the US population) pose a significant security threat. These immigrants will, undoubtedly, “board an airliner and blow it up” according to one co-author*.

The person who said that, Steven Camarota, has remarked on another even more serious immigrant threat very concisely in the past: “[E]ach 10 percent increase in the immigrant share of the county’s population reduced the Republican vote by about six percentage points [over the last 30 years]”*.

Of course, we can’t discount this study/argument simply because the writers may be generally biased against immigration. Hopefully, PolitiFact will have a look at their figures.

Agree or not, there are still solid ways to try to help out the thousands of Syrian civilians in need. Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch highly rate American Refugee Committee International as an effective charity. GiveWell recommends Doctors Without Borders.

Pinker: “A History of Violence”

Some of the evidence has been under our nose all along. Conventional history has long shown that, in many ways, we have been getting kinder and gentler. Cruelty as entertainment, human sacrifice to indulge superstition, slavery as a labor-saving device, conquest as the mission statement of government, genocide as a means of acquiring real estate, torture and mutilation as routine punishment, the death penalty for misdemeanors and differences of opinion, assassination as the mechanism of political succession, rape as the spoils of war, pogroms as outlets for frustration, homicide as the major form of conflict resolution—all were unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But, today, they are rare to nonexistent in the West, far less common elsewhere than they used to be, concealed when they do occur, and widely condemned when they are brought to light.

[source]

Commission on Wartime Contracting

January 2011

  • Commission on Wartime Contracting

    The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a two panel hearing investigating the recurring problems associated with Afghan construction projects. Witnesses discussed delays, cost overruns and various oversight agencies issues. The projects are focused on providing facilities for the Afghan government and reconstruction and economic development since the anti-Taliban intervention in 2001.

  • Embattled U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Resigns as Calls for Oversight Grow

    Arnold Fields, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, stepped down Monday amid widespread congressional dissatisfaction with his office’s oversight of U.S. operational spending.

“Starving the Beast”

  • Debt and the Bush Years

    [Topics: Clinton, Bush, Housing Bubble 2000 Peak, Medicare Part D]

  • Op-Ed from Bruce Bartlett: Tax Cuts And ‘Starving The Beast’

    By 1981 STB was well-established Republican doctrine. In his first major address on the economy as president on Feb. 5, Ronald Reagan articulated the idea perfectly. As he told a nationwide audience that night, “Over the past decades we’ve talked of curtailing spending so that we can then lower the tax burden. … But there were always those who told us that taxes couldn’t be cut until spending was reduced. Well, you know, we can lecture our children about extravagance until we run out of voice and breath. Or we can cure their extravagance by simply reducing their allowance.”

On the Source of Racial/Community-based Antagonism

“As the patient searchers discern more and more about early man and his predecessors, they also may gain an ever-widening insight about modern man, his nature, his failings and his future. Most major anthropologists reject the notion popularized by Robert Ardrey (The Territorial Imperative) and others that man is inherently aggressive and that his murderous instincts derive from his apelike origins. Indeed, they have found no evidence in their digs that man was anything but a peaceable hunter-gatherer before the invention of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. It was farming, they believe, that created settlers with property to protect and fostered cultural differences that led to antagonisms between races and communities.

Richard Leakey…notes that racial differences, as they are commonly perceived, are a superficial and recent development, having arisen only about 15,000 years ago.”

Time Magazine article “Puzzling Out Man’s Ascent,” Monday, Nov. 07, 1977

Napalm Sticks to Kids

Below is a poem/military chant that is a composite of one that appears in an issue of a comic book called Slow Death (#4, 1972) and one I found at the Digital Tradition Folk Music Database.

The poem/chant is preceded in Slow Death by the following:

Thanks very much for all the letters, no room for a do loop letter page or a Slow Death Quiz this time. The cartoon was sent to us by Eric Kimball. The poem was the work of a group of AF and Army GIs assigned to the First Air Cav who sat down one night in a hootch in Nam and wrote a poem. It expressed their bitterness about the things they had done and toward the military that had made them murderers. The poem was first published in the June 71 issue of helping hand; POB 729, Mountain Home, Idaho 83647. Each verse depicts an actual event that at least one of the men participated in. Continue reading Napalm Sticks to Kids