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Separating Fact From Fiction

Footing The Bill

Anyone want to? Wanna really pay the price for war(s)? Nope!

How much would you pay for the life of one of this country’s active duty men or women? Below I discuss what our government has decided their worth (Hint: Its less than the cost of two movie tickets!). Read the rest of this entry »

Smoking Gun Syndrome

Newsflash: The Government Accountability Office has decided to reopen the investigation that found Dr. Bruce Ivins solely responsible for the post-911 anthrax scare that killed 5 people.

In reading this note in The Times I found myself thinking back to the origin of the phrase smoking gun and why we as Americans are so consumed with finding single individuals to blame large-scale tragedies, screw-ups, and nefarious activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Fallen Update

The Department of Defense has identified 1,162 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the death of the following American last week:

KING, Brandon M., 23, Pvt., Army; Tallahassee, Fla.; 101st Airborne Division.

According to icasualties.org:

Iraq = 4,4412 US, 179 UK, and 139 Other > 4,730 Total

Afghanistan = 1,188 US, 322 UK, and 436 Other > 1,944 Total

The dial continues to move in the wrong direction in the latter and it is speeding up! GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN MR. PRESIDENT!

The Cherry On Top! (aka Master of the Obvious Part Deux)

There really is no need to say any more as the title says it all.

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan

I wonder if Big (What a..) Dick Cheney knew about this one! He couldn’t have otherwise he would have insisted on a more concerted and muscular presence in Afghanistan throughout the War On Terror. Oh well chalk one up to good ol’ fashion Mullah Omar misdirection. Something tells me you will be hearing that Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)out of New Orleans will be getting their grubby nefarious hands involved in this operation given their robust play in the global copper market. Okay you heard it hear folks with FCX’s near monopoly on the global copper market and a large presence in gold we will absolutely see a strong push by them into this nascent opportunity. Just for the record FCX shares are currently trading at $65.26 on the NYSE, traded as high as $87 on January 8th, 11, and April 5th of this year, BUT are far below highs of $114 and 122 on October 10, 2007 and May 19, 2008, respectively. These two dates and the general peak in copper prices happened to coincide with a commercial and residential housing construction boom in China and lead some to believe that we had reached Peak Copper, although the latter has yet to be proven, but it stands to reason we will reach some sort of peak given the finite nature of copper availability, the world’s insatiable appetite for it, and the fact that last I checked creating it out of thin air ain’t an option! I will keep a keen eye on this and I suggest anyone reading this do the same as I demonstrated with an earlier posting on Roche and it’s share skyrocket in the weeks leading up to and after The Great H1N1 scare.

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I would just say to the Pashtuns of Southern Afghanistan caveat emptor with Exhibit A being FCX’s Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, where the natives are restless and growing more so by the day. FCX is determined to see this mine to it’s complete exploitation given that it accounts for $4 Billion of FCX’s $6.5 Billion operating profit (i.e., Nearly 2/3). Some have even decided that peaceful protest is no longer helpful resorting instead to primitive but effective methods of “Message Delivery”. However, when the Indonesian government equips the mine bosses with a security force of 3,000 troops and police the odds are stacked against the indigenous peoples of Papua and Papua New Guinea (See Map courtesy of The Economist).

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Fallen Update

The Department of Defense has identified 1,082 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans this week:

NEENAN, Brendan P., 21, Specialist, Army; Enterprise, Ala.; 82nd Airborne Division.

RANKEL, John K., 23, Sgt., Marines; Speedway, Ind.; First Marine Division.

iCasualties.org to date:

Afghanistan = US 1,108, UK 294, Other 416 = Total 1,787

HOWEVER if we look at some data compiled by Iraqi Body Count we see that the costs are being forced asymmetrically upon the Iraqi people. Now whether you believe in this endeavor or not a 23:1 Iraqi Civilian to US troop casualty ratio should not be acceptable. I mean leaving aside those of you with no pulse (i.e., Dick Cheney and Donny Rumsfeld). The data below demonstrates a disturbing trend albeit one that appears to be waning for the time being. However, that is only because the fight has shifted to Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan not because the war against terrorism is getting cleaner and more accurate or precise.

We are talking about over 101,036 civilians killed in Iraq alone and that doesn’t account for the poor access to data and medical records, which would most assuredly push this number up by at least 5-10%. It also doesn’t account for the even worse data for Afghanistan, which I am trying to find and will post here when I do. We have dehumanized Iraqis the same way McNamara, Johnson, and Kennedy dehumanized the Vietnamese. It is a shame this is what we have to do in order to kill someone. Doesn’t take much guts and it doesn’t take much planning just a complete and utter disregard for the human condition.

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Quote of the Day

“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline—it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”

There will never be a nuclear war; there’s too much real estate involved.

Frank Zappa

Fallen Update

iCasualities is reporting 4,390 and 1,042 in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.

The UK is at 179 and 281, respectively, while “Other” is at 139 and 400.

The Department of Defense has identified 4,381 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war and 1,026 who have died as part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans:

Iraq

BLOUNT, William A., 21, Pfc., Army; Petal, Miss.; First Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team.

COLLINS, Robert W., 24, First Lt., Army; Tyrone, Ga.; First Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team.

Afghanistan

BORIO, Roberto E. Diaz, 47, Sgt., Army; San Juan, P.R.; First Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

LACKEY, James B., 45, Senior Master Sgt., Air Force; Green Clove Springs, Fla.; Eighth Special Operations Squadron.

VOAS, Randell D., 43, Maj., Air Force; Lakeville, Minn.; Eighth Special Operations Squadron.

Iraq 4,379

The Department of Defense has identified 4,379 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the death of the following American yesterday:

KRUIZE, Kurt E., 35, Sgt., Army; Hancock, Minn.; 367th Engineer Battalion.

Fallen!

The Department of Defense has identified 4,378 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the death of the following American yesterday:

PACLEB, Raymond N., 31, Pfc., Army; Honolulu; First Battalion, 487th Field Artillery.

1,000

Well we’ve done it. We have successfully surpassed the 1,000 troop death mark in Afghanistan. Seems like just yesterday we had suffered no more than 1/2 that…Maybe that is because it has not been very long since the escalation of operations in Marjah/Helmand Province and the coming battle in Kandahar. Not sure what blueprint says this is a good idea. From now on I am going to post all the names of every soldier in case someone happens to stumble on this blog, because it is a shame how little we know about these men and women….never mind the fact that we know nothing about the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Pakistan. That’s right Pakistan! You know the place where we send in Predator drones to bomb the hell out of remote communities with a very high civilian:insurgent kill ratio.

We’re at 1,030 US Troops in Afganistan and 4,386 in Iraq according to iCasualties.

From The Times:

The Department of Defense has identified 1,016 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations:

CENTANNI, Rick J., 19, Lance Cpl., Marines; Yorba Linda, Calif.; Fourth Marine Division.

COTTLE, Robert J., 45, Sgt. Maj., Marines; Whittier, Calif.; Fourth Marine Division.

ROSS, Jacob A., 19, Lance Cpl., Marines; Gillette, Wyo.; Second Marine Division.