The cost of the war in Iraq will shortly reach $200,000,000,000 that’s two hundred thousand million to some of us and two hundred billion to others. It matters not, the amount is so staggeringly huge we cannot fully grasp exactly what it means. Let me attempt to put it into some perspective for you.

If you total up all the people who have ever died, and I mean ever, and put them into two groups those that died of malaria and all the rest who did not, the group of people that died from malaria will outnumber the group who died of every other conceivable cause of death. That alone is a fairly astonishing statistic. Now add to this the fact that for an eighth of the money spent on the war in Iraq malaria could have been eradicated entirely, globally. This begins to bring home the utter futility of the deaths across the world caused wholly and completely by the lack of will to stop them.

When asked about the rise in deaths from malaria in the UK in 2003, (the number had risen from 9 in 2002 to 16 in 2003) Professor Peter Chiodini, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine stated “We are very concerned because these are people who shouldn’t be dying.” I couldn’t agree more. What Professor Chiodini was not asked was whether the continuing deaths across the world in the poorer countries was also something that should not be happening. Professor Chiodini is not a political figure, he is a scientist and as such he and his colleagues have done what is required of them by virtue of the fact that there are the necessary drugs to combat malaria. Hence the reason why we, in the West, are able to immunise ourselves agaisnt the disease when travelling to countries where it runs riot through the indegenous population.

If, in addition to malaria eradication, you then consider that literacy programs could have been instigated across the world, food shortage programs and natural disaster defences could have been funded to completion. The almost unparalleled advances that could be made to redress the imbalance of the world’s wealth and resources. If only the will were there to do so.

Some might say that in broad coalitions such as Stop the War and Make Poverty History there is movement to enact change and one which might have the profile to do so.

I stand by my decision to support the Make Poverty History campaign rather than stand at the sidelines saying such a coalition of people will never acheive anything. It was important to try to be within and fight for the political angle that seems so easily brushed under the carpet by some. Like the Stop The War coalition there were those that sought to keep politics very much off the agenda they did not want the campaign to be ‘hijacked’ and yet the make Poverty History campaign was hijacked by Blair and Brown in callous fashion to enable them, as the establishment, to change nothing. They continue to talk a good game but without the seizmic shift in actual global politics what are they actually promising? A small gesture, a practically meaningless one, a drop in the ocean. Without the will to eradicate disease, poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, facilitation of access to resources like water, electricity, housing what will be achieved by the offers they are making?

What is the point in dropping the debt of countries that cannot afford to pay what are tantamount to reparations for being poor and powerless? Do the countries themselves benefit? Not a great deal, they could not afford to pay it anyway. Do the Western countries benefit? Well yes they do, they get the political capital of looking magnanimous but there is no negative economic impact for them from doing so. In fact, quite the contrary, by this masterstroke they have in fact opened up a market for a great deal more interventionism and financial pillaging. After all the debts are neither being dropped wholesale nor in fact without any condition. Individual countries may say that they will not attach conditions to their own dropping of debt, they do not have to sully their own hands, they have the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank to do this for them and since these institutions are controlled exclusively by the US and EU who are the major money lenders this is something of a sewn-up arrangement.

Christian nations eh? Hmmm, seem to recall Jesus Christ having something to say/do about money lenders. I also seem to recall something about camels and eye of a needle, but what would I know I’m an atheist!

Song Of The Day ~ Iron Maiden – Phantom Of The Opera

Original Comments:

fiordizucca made this comment,
glad to know you are well and prolific! 🙂
-Barone Rosso respondare – Si, va bene, e tu dolce?

comment added :: 5th October 2005, 09:50 GMT+01 ::

isy made this comment,
completely right. but with the current capitalist “ME ME!!” society i’m doubtfull anyone in a position of power or influence would want to change. their lives are nice and comfortable.
-Redbaron responds – Yes it is precisely the individualism that creates the problem and this needs to be addressed. To be frank if those that cling to power choose not to adapt then the issue really has to be taken out of their hands.-

comment added :: 6th October 2005, 10:00 GMT+01