Posts Tagged ‘American’
An Afghan policeman stands guard as he carries his weapon decorated with colourful stickers during a joint U.S.-Afghan military clearing operations in Nagahan district in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan
Some officer would rip you a new one if an American showed up with his piece bearing stickers.
On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger.
We see right out of the gate what is politically correct for Washington flunkies. Morsi has made it clear that he represents a broader constituency than his Muslim background – yet, the TIMES sticks to the War-on-Terror mantra calling him Islamist.
A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the United States after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, an autocratic but reliable ally.
He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability.
If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
“We took our time” in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt “decisively” with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.
“We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,” he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger…
Mr. Morsi…said the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules…“If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,” he said. “When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.”
He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak either.
“Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians…
A view of history shared by almost all of the educated world, Western or otherwise. Including those who think it should be so.
“The president of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the commander of the armed forces, full stop. Egypt now is a real civil state. It is not theocratic, it is not military. It is democratic, free, constitutional, lawful and modern.”
He added, “We are behaving according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else — is it clear..?”
I’m not any more confident about Barack Obama adopting an objective world view or turning American foreign policy towards democracy and fairness – than I would be over Romney and the Kool Aid Party. Imperial greed and arrogance have been central to our foreign policy since we supported the last ditch efforts of British and French colonialism right after World War 2. We continued that criminal behavior from Iran and Guatemala through VietNam to Iraq. Neither of our political parties missed a beat. Nor do I expect them to do so until and unless our elected officials are qualitatively changed.
Christian evangelical groups in the US are attempting a “cultural colonisation” of Africa, opening offices in numerous countries to promote attacks on homosexuality and abortion, according to an investigation by a liberal thinktank…
“The religious right [in effect] claims that human rights activists are neocolonialists out to destroy Africa,” the report states…
Entitled Colonising African Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, the study analysed data from seven African countries and employed researchers for several months in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It identified three organisations it believes are aggressively targeting the continent: Pat Robertson’s ACLJ, the Catholic group Human Life International and Family Watch International, led by the Mormon activist Sharon Slater.
Each of these “frame their agendas as authentically African, in an effort to brand human rights advocacy as a new colonialism bent on destroying cultural traditions and values”, the report says.
In the past five years, the report alleges, all “have launched or expanded their work in Africa dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview”. A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders…”
The report was welcomed by gay rights campaigners. Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities in Uganda, said: “I’m grateful for the documentation in the report that confirms that it is homophobia (not homosexuality) that is exported from the west.
RTFA for the whole range of idjit ideology is being exported to Africa. The Christian Clown Show spends as much energy in opposing reproductive rights – including access to birth control and safe sex – as it dedicates to hatred and fearmongering homophobia.
As I noted last night, if mainstream Christians don’t get off their rusty dustys and fight for progressive freedoms, educated rights – they deserve to be tarred with the same brush.
The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago…
Suicides have increased even as the United States military has withdrawn from Iraq and stepped up efforts to provide mental health, drug and alcohol, and financial counseling services.
The military said Friday that there had been 154 suicides among active-duty troops through Thursday, a rate of nearly one each day this year…That number represents an 18 percent increase over the 130 active-duty military suicides for the same period in 2011. There were 123 suicides from January to early June in 2010, and 133 during that period in 2009, the Pentagon said.
By contrast, there were 124 American military fatalities in Afghanistan as of June 1 this year, according to the Pentagon…
In a letter to military commanders last month, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said that “suicide prevention is a leadership responsibility,” and added, “Commanders and supervisors cannot tolerate any actions that belittle, haze, humiliate or ostracize any individual, especially those who require or are responsibly seeking professional services.”
But veterans’ groups said Friday that the Pentagon had not done enough to moderate the tremendous stress under which combat troops live, including coping with multiple deployments…
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called suicides among active-duty military personnel “the tip of the iceberg.” He…attributed the rise in military suicides to too few qualified mental health professionals, aggravated by the stigma of receiving counseling and further compounded by family stresses and financial problems. The unemployment rate among military families is a particular problem, he said.
The best solution would be for our nation to walk away from “solving” every international question with death and destruction. Military hardware deployed around the world requires young men and women deployed around the world — doing the bidding of political chickenhawks and warlovers who think the best solution for any difficult question is war. Cripes, it’s not even the cheapest. For a nation that tries to resolve domestic questions with the lowest bidder – regardless of quality – you’d think stinginess alone would nudge our government to stop invading other countries every five or ten years.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a creepy opportunist like John McCain or a political intellectual like Barack Obama. Sticking with the robot response of American foreign policy for the last sixty years or so continues to escalate parallel patterns of self-destruction among our service personnel almost as rapidly as it exacerbates contempt for the United States among ordinary people in every other nation.
Alienation is still alienation. The results grow more deadly with the passage of time.
The heart of American foreign policy
The historian Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote a brutally clear-eyed piece in The National Review, looking back at America’s different approaches to Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan and how, sadly, none of them could be said to have worked yet.
“Let us review the various American policy options for the Middle East over the last few decades,” Hanson wrote. “Military assistance or punitive intervention without follow-up mostly failed. The verdict on far more costly nation-building is still out. Trying to help popular insurgents topple unpopular dictators does not guarantee anything better. Propping up dictators with military aid is both odious and counterproductive. Keeping clear of maniacal regimes leads to either nuclear acquisition or genocide — or 16 acres of rubble in Manhattan. What have we learned? Tribalism, oil, and Islamic fundamentalism are a bad mix that leaves Americans sick and tired of the Middle East — both when they get in it and when they try to stay out of it.”
And that is why it’s time to rethink everything we’re doing out there. What the Middle East needs most from America today are modern schools and hard truths, and we haven’t found a way to offer either. Because Hanson is right: What ails the Middle East today truly is a toxic mix of tribalism, Shiite-Sunni sectarianism, fundamentalism and oil — oil that constantly tempts us to intervene or to prop up dictators.
And Israel’s quest for lebensraum.
This cocktail erodes all the requirements of a forward-looking society — which are institutions that deliver decent government, consensual politics that provide for rotations in power, women’s rights and an ethic of pluralism that protects minorities and allows for modern education. The United Nations Arab Human Development Report published in 2002 by some brave Arab social scientists also said something similar: What ails the Arab world is a deficit of freedom, a deficit of modern education and a deficit of women’s empowerment.
So helping to overcome those deficits should be what U.S. policy is about, yet we seem unable to sustain that…
Blood thinners and diabetes drugs cause most emergency hospital visits for drug reactions among people over 65 in the United States, a new study shows.
Just four medications or medication groups — used alone or together — were responsible for two-thirds of emergency hospitalizations among older Americans, according to the report. At the top of the list was warfarin, also known as Coumadin, a blood thinner. It accounted for 33 percent of emergency hospital visits. Insulin injections were next on the list, accounting for 14 percent of emergency visits.
Aspirin, clopidogrel and other antiplatelet drugs that help prevent blood clotting were involved in 13 percent of emergency visits. And just behind them were diabetes drugs taken by mouth, called oral hypoglycemic agents, which were implicated in 11 percent of hospitalizations.
All these drugs are commonly prescribed to older adults, and they can be hard to use correctly. One problem they share is a narrow therapeutic index, meaning the line between an effective dose and a hazardous one is thin. The sheer extent to which they are involved in hospitalizations among older people, though, was not expected, said Dr. Dan Budnitz, an author of the study…
As Americans live longer and take more medications — 40 percent of people over 65 take five to nine medications — hospitalizations for accidental overdoses and adverse side effects are likely to increase, experts say…
A common denominator among the drugs topping the list is that they can be difficult to use. Some require blood testing to adjust their doses, and a small dose can have a powerful effect. Blood sugar can be notoriously hard to control in people with diabetes, for example, and taking a slightly larger dose of insulin than needed can send a person into shock. Warfarin, meanwhile, is the classic example of a drug with a narrow margin between therapeutic and toxic doses, requiring regular blood monitoring, and it can interact with many other drugs and foods…
One thing that stood out in the data, the researchers noted, was that none of the four drugs identified as frequent culprits are typically among the types of drugs labeled “high risk” for older adults by major health care groups…
Dr. Budnitz said that the new findings should provide an opportunity to reduce the number of emergency hospitalizations in older adults by focusing on improving the safety of this small group of blood thinners and diabetes medications, rather than by trying to stop the use of drugs typically thought of as risky for this group.
Dr. Budnitz thinks it is critical that patients tell their physicians everything they’re taking. Well, presuming that the digitizing program put in place by President Obama is proceeding at least as quickly as anything else that hasn’t been roadblocked by the Party of NO – seems to me it soon should be practical for that physician to have someone on staff run a database check on his patients for exactly these conflicts and dangers.
Leaving the responsibility up to a patient who may not even be able to spell the crap he’s taking ain’t the most reliable approach. Involving doctor and pharmacy database records makes as much sense or more.
Forty years ago, Americans could expect to live slightly longer than Europeans. This has since reversed: in spite of similar levels of economic development, Americans now live about a year-and-a-half less, on average, than their Western European counterparts, and also less than people in most other developed nations. How did Americans fall behind?
A study in the July 2011 issue of Social Science and Medicine is the first to calculate the fiscal consequences of the growing life expectancy gap over the next few decades. The study also pinpoints the crucial age at which U.S. life expectancy starts to deteriorate.
Specifically, researchers from the University of Southern California and colleagues at RAND Corp. and Harvard School of Public Health find that health in middle-age – around the age of 50 – is overwhelmingly the main contributor to disparities in life expectancy between Americans and Europeans.
In the first half of the last century, average life expectancy increased by saving more babies, explains author Dana Goldman…”But now it is reduction in mortality among the elderly, rather than the young, that propels increases in life expectancy…”
Accounting for levels of socioeconomic diversity in the United States and predicted future demographic estimates, the researchers found much of the life expectancy gap would disappear if the United States lowered prevalence of middle-aged obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to European levels…
Released in January 2011, Crimmins’ research looked at life expectancy over the last 25 years and found that smoking – and to a lesser extent obesity – were the two major reasons why U.S. life expectancy has fallen short of other high-income nations in the past.
Improving American health during middle age in the future to increase life expectancy would increase later-life pension benefits. But this expenditure would be offset by a significant decrease in health care costs – at least $17,791 per person, the researchers estimate.
Though the transition to better health initially raises expenditures, the researchers estimate that by 2050 health care savings from gradual middle-age health improvements could total more than $1.1 trillion…
Learning about good nutrition, exercise, changing your lifestyle is going to do you more good and cost society less than passing more legislation.
The follow-on question, of course, is will our bureaucrats ever have enough confidence to let go of the nanny state? Will we ever get it together enough to justify less “management”?
Brits remove the last of their troops from Iraq – All the United States has left is 47,000 troops and 63,000 civilian contractors
Britain is withdrawing its troops Sunday from Iraq, ending a role that began with the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, British defense officials said…
“We now look forward to a strong, long-term defense relationship with Iraq,” Fox told the House of Commons when he announced Wednesday that British troops would leave the country.
The announcement effectively ended Britain’s role in Iraq, a role that was widely unpopular in the United Kingdom. About 179 British troops were killed during operations in Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Britain when the war began, protesting the deployment of British troops to join then-President George Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing.” At the height of the war, more than 46,000 British troops were deployed primarily in and around the southern port city of Basra.
In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an inquiry into the UK’s participation in the war.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair testified during the inquiry that Iraq needed to be confronted over its ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction… Supreme liar and flunky.
Britain ended its combat operations in Iraq in 2009 but maintained a small contingent, primarily members of the Royal Navy, to train Iraqi sailors and marines at the southern Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr…
Britain will leave behind a small contingent to protect its personnel at its embassy in Baghdad…
The legacy of the Brits in Iraq will always be colored by their colonial history.
The legacy of the United States? Most Iraqis will remember how many family members died to make the world safe for the Coalition of the Willing. They number in the hundreds of thousands.
Why should anyone remember us with more fondness than, say, a Ukrainian remembers the Germans?