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Buddy Posted on 17/4 15:21
War on terrorism not a major issue

globally speaking.

Frightening statistic: one day's spending on the American Department of Defense would keep all of Africa in mosquito nets for five years.

This is according to Jeffrey Sachs who is delivering the 2007 BBC Reith Lectures. Required listening for anyone with a passing interest in global politics.

First one available at least until tonight here:

Link: Reith Lectures

Bernard_Samson Posted on 17/4 15:23
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Thats one big net!

PoetLaureate Posted on 17/4 15:24
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Globalisation is a bigger threat to the world than terrorism!

Lefty3668 Posted on 17/4 15:33
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Don't the US spend more than half their Tax Revenue on Defence?

I think they spend more on Defence than the rest of the world put together as well.

I also read somewhere that the worlds poor could be taken out of poverty with what the US spend on cosmetics in a year.

crab_people Posted on 17/4 15:55
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

best let them keep their semi-automatic weapons then

Turner_86 Posted on 17/4 15:57
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Surley Prince William and his ex is the biggest issue in the world at the moment.

Buddy Posted on 17/4 16:20
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

He's never come across as that surly to me. Quite affable really, especially compared to his paternal grandfather.

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/4 18:19
re: War on terrorism not a major issue


means_the_world Posted on 18/4 0:00
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

am unclear why terrorism not a major issue. you may not remember july 7 2005 but quite a lot of Brits got murdered that day. may have passed you by of course.

defence spending essential. also development spending. the two together aren't contradictory.

moxzin87 Posted on 18/4 0:24
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

"War on terrorism not a major issue
globally speaking."

Given that America, Britain, France, Spain, Canada, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, Australia, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon have all felt the icy hand of jihad I think its probably one issue that gets more major the globally you zoom-out.

If you were to argue it was not a major issue in Britain, you'd be more accurate but I'd still disagree.

And yeah, as for the comparing defence spending to what it would cost to give vital aid to Africa, there are plenty of other things that America spends billions on that could be better distributed; certainly ones that should be criticised before you get to Defence, which is one of the most important things on the budget.

zaphod Posted on 18/4 6:09
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

I agree, and have said on here many times, that the threat of terrorism is vastly exaggerated. Since (and including) 9/11, the total death toll from global terrorism is probably just 4,000 to 5,000 worldwide, under 1,000 a year on average. Obviously it's devastating for those affected and efforts should be made to stop it, but the "War on Terror" is an enormous over-reaction and has caused far, far more deaths and misery than al-Qaeda ever could. The invasion of Iraq , in particular, is a disaster.

There are millions dying from disease and hunger worldwide while the US and the UK pour vast amounts of money into an unnecessary war.

littlejimmy Posted on 18/4 7:23
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

$623 billion to defend the country against a small band of nutty extremists. Less than 0.25% of that could make a difference.

Buddy Posted on 18/4 8:57
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

means_the_world: did you listen to the lecture? From memory I think the argument was that,as jimmy said, the spending on an unwinnable "battle" against a relatively small group of committed headcases is completely out of proportion to where such spending could do most good and (crucially) reduce conflict the most.

Lefty3668 Posted on 18/4 14:00
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Having read the transcript, he didn't really seem to say a lot in that. Hopefully the next few will better.

I was a bit thrown when Geri bloody Halliwell popped up.

towz Posted on 18/4 14:05
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Yeah but all that spending on defence keeps plenty of Americans big fat and rich

means_the_world Posted on 19/4 0:44
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

buddy, not read it. but he wouldn't have said that terrorism wasn't a major issue.

anyway, spending money on not blowing innocent people on the Tube isn't 'wasted' as you say. certainly not for those of us who use the tube and london buses and don't want to get blown up. nor for the rest of the UK who are also at threat. physically, socially and economically.

defeating terrorism isn't unwinnable either. The security forces have clearly stopped attacks and the fact that there haven't been bombings for nearly 2 years is good. even if that has meant delays at airports or raids on extremists. That's why we won't let up our guard either.

in fact the reason that we can defeat such people is because they are a relatively small amount and governments can use the military and intelligence to root out the cancer. and why we need to ensure that nowhere on the planet feels they are able to shelter terror cells - be that in afghanistan, africa or yorkshire.

like i say though, defence, intelligence and development spending are all complementary in making this happen.

moxzin87 Posted on 19/4 0:50
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

zaphod, 20% of your annual quota used up today alone. Time for a bit of a rethink.

I think we're quite cosy in letting Adam Curtis tell us noble lies so we can sleep easier.

zaphod Posted on 19/4 2:50
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

mox, I said "global terrorism". Iraq and Israel/Palestine are not related to al-Qaeda and its acolytes. They're special situations relating to internal conflicts. Iraq is a civil war and the bombings etc. are only happening because of the US/UK invasion. Israel/Palestine is a conflict between 2 communities.

craig_pancrack Posted on 19/4 8:34
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

Are we safer after 5 years of the War on Terror? Remember Michael Meacher MP one of Tony's don't hear about him much anymore..because he stated the War on Terror was a fraud.

Link: video not seen on the bbc

Buddy Posted on 19/4 9:09
re: War on terrorism not a major issue


"I want to talk about the challenge of our generation. Ours is not the generation that faced the challenge of Fascism, ours is not the generation to have first grappled with the nuclear demon, though we still grapple with it today. Ours is not the generation that faced the Cold War. Ours is not the generation incidentally in which the greatest problem is the war on terror, or Iran, or other ideas that are current. Our challenge, our generation's unique challenge, is learning to live peacefully and sustainably in an extraordinarily crowded world."

"The way of solving problems requires one fundamental change, a big one, and that is learning that the challenges of our generation are not us versus them, they are not us versus Islam, us versus the terrorists, us versus Iran, they are us, all of us together on this planet against a set of shared and increasingly urgent problems."

means_the_world Posted on 19/4 10:51
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

yeah, he's right - it is a major issue though there has been a fair degree of disagreement with the sachs thesis. but like i said haven't read yet. he's an important thinker.

even still, your quotes only prove that Sachs acknowledges that nuclear proliferation, global terrorism, the threat from Iran are all problems rather than the opposite.

Tony Blair too has said that dealing with climate change should be at the top of the agenda for world leaders. I do assume you wouldn't say that he doesn't think that terrorism isn't a major issue.

Craig, your question 'are we safer' is double edged. yes, we''re a lot safer than if leaders refused to acknowledge the al qaeda threat or take action to root out extremist cells and bomb making factories or were not committed to sharing intelligence.

But clearly the murders in Istanbul, Madrid, London, Bali, Nairobi, New York etc. all demonstrate that we are not 'safe' because people home and abroad are still dedicated to blowing us up. assume your conclusion from this is that we shouldn't continue to protect ourselves.

--- Post edited by means_the_world on 19/4 11:55 ---

moxzin87 Posted on 19/4 13:52
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

So you've reduced the definition now from 'War on terrorism' to simply Al Qaeda? It is "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" that is carrying out some of the most brutal Sunni on Shia, Sunni on Coalition attacks in Iraq. The recent Algerian bombings were by "Al Qaeda in the Maghrab". I don't doubt that Israel/Palestine is a much more seperate issue; but worldwide, and that includes Iraq, it does seem to be Al Qaeda that is bent on destabilising governments and just plain old killing people.

You can say they are a decentralised group, or one made up of proxies, or one with a penchant for silly poetic names of countries, but its impossible to say now, surely, that it doesn't exist and it isn't killing people by the thousands. And (and now its only my opinion) it is impossible to say that it isn't worth fighting against.

means_the_world Posted on 19/4 13:59
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

not really sure how there's an argument here. would have thought that it's easy for any decent person to agree that both terrorism and the combating global poverty should be tackled to stop the deaths that both bring about.

Buddy Posted on 19/4 14:03
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

The transcript actually doesn't do the lecture justice tbh. The phrases about it being not the most pressing concern were delivered in a tone of voice best described as "scathing".

I'm interested that you think that greater spending necessarily equals greater safety though. To use the example of the London bombs, unless everybody is searched and x-rayed on entering the Tube how are you ever going to stop it 100%? And are the majority willing to undergo that level of delay for the amelioration of such a small risk?

means_the_world Posted on 19/4 14:13
re: War on terrorism not a major issue

sachs is entitled to be scathing - we live in a free country. you may also have attributed your own feelings onto what you thought his tone was too. but living in london and travelling on the tube and trying to ring my sister doing the same those days it ain't my view.

re money, course not. but it's already almost too late to stop at that stage and relies on luck. there are other targets too such as on Oxford St during Xmas shopping or what that fascist did against black, Asian and gay people in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho.

the point is you invest in intelligence work to find them before it happens (it's not that easy) and in winning cooperation from communities and also making people more alert of their surroundings. you will also need more spending for police doing spot checks on the Tube when there are known threats or at airports.