February 17th, 2003


Bribes all around!

What is the going rate for the US to get another country to support a war? How about $20 billion?!

That is what the US are offering Turkey in exchange for their support with Iraq. That, incidentally, is about 35% more than the entire US budget for NASA, and is about 40% of the total budget for the US Department of Education. Incidentally, $20 billion would be more than enough to make up for all the holes in every state's education budget that Bush's economic bungling has brought about.

Of course, $20 billion is just a bribe for Turkey... there will be money for Jordan, money for Israel, money for Kuwait, money for Saudi Arabia, money for Qatar -- everyone will want their turn at the trough.

Tomorrow, Turkey's parliament is having a vote on allowing US troops to be based out of their country for an invasion of Iraq. You can contact the Turkish embassies and parliament members and let them know you are opposed to Turkey allowing US troops to operate out of their country... but I half wonder whether they are bought and paid for already. After all, the US just offered them an amount equal to approximately 5% of their economic output for a whole year.

... and if that's not a bribe, I don't know what is.

A good example of wars that are easy to get into, hard to get out of...

It looks like the Russian occupation of Chechnya has been a lot more expensive that the media has previously reported.

Apparently, Russia has officially lost 4,739 servicemen so far, with over 13,000 wounded. These numbers, though significantly higher than previously announced casualty reports, are still considerably lower than figures tallied by the group Soldier's Mothers of Russia, which estimates over 11,000 dead and 30,000 wounded since the occupation began. Russian casualties are still occurring daily after 3 1/2 years of conflict due to ambushes and landmines, while Chechen casualties number in the tens of thousands.

Meanwhile, Sergei Kovalyov, a prominent Russian politician and human rights advocate, is making the rounds in Washington right now, where he is reporting on the use of Russian death squads in Chechnya, just as the US congress is deciding on whether or not to consider the Chechens terrorists. Needless to say, the Russian government is not amused.