Posts filed under “War/Defense”
I have spilled a great deal of pixels and time in these pages discussing the importance of not letting your biases get the best of you as an investor. (See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this). Further, when you are wrong, you must do more than merely acknowledge it: Embrace the error, understand it and learn from it. Traders who don’t learn these lessons very quickly become ex-traders.
If only the same were true for the pundits and politicians who refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. Instead, they double down on the same bad philosophy and belief system that led to the error in the first place.
The latest example of this is former Vice President Dick Cheney. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed — one that isn’t even worthy of a link — he blames the entire Iraq fiasco on the current president, stating “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
I did a double-take when I read that: I wasn’t sure if he was discussing the current president or the man Cheney ostensibly worked for, George W. Bush. Regardless of what you think about the current sitting president — he has been an enormous disappoint for many, and his poll numbers reflect that — invading Iraq was a choice made by the Bush administration. And the only person more wrong about Iraq than Bush was the invasion’s chief advocate and architect, Cheney himself. Continues here
War Crimes and 9/11: Why Dick and Don Are Suspects
Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism official, has recently come out suggesting that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld should be charged with war crimes. Unfortunately, media outlets reporting this story have failed to examine Clarke’s long relationship to Cheney and Rumsfeld and his record of having prevented the capture of Osama bin Laden. These omissions highlight that, although Cheney and Rumsfeld undoubtedly are guilty of post-9/11 war crimes, suspicions that they helped create the pretext for those crimes go unreported.
Senior NSA Executive DEMOLISHES Intelligence Agencies’ Excuse for 9/11 — Says 9/11 Should Have Been Stopped The U.S. government pretended that 9/11 was unforeseeable. But overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable. The fallback government position is that…Read More
Government Treated Peaceful Boycott As Terrorism Anyone Who Questions the Powers-That-Be May Be Labelled a “Terrorist” The Partnership for Civil Justice (a public interest legal organization which the Washington Post called “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation”) reported this week that the Obama administration treated a peaceful boycott as a terrorist threat: 4,000…Read More
NSA Spying On Congress, Admirals, Lawyers … Content As Well As Metadata … Cheney Was Running the Show NSA whistleblower Russel Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping. Tice told PBS and other media that the NSA is…Read More
5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent Spying has been around since the dawn of civilization. Keith Laidler – a PhD anthropologist, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a past member of the Scientific Exploration Society – explains: Spying and surveillance are at least as old as…Read More
Image courtesy of Steve Hess
War Makes Us Poor … And Drags the Economy Down Through the Floor
Preface: Many Americans – including influential economists and talking heads - still wrongly assume that war is good for the economy. For example, extremely influential economists like Paul Krugman and Martin Feldstein promote the myth that war is good for the economy.
Many congressmen assume that cutting pork-barrel military spending would hurt their constituents’ jobs. And talking heads like senior Washington Post political columnist David Broder parrot this idea.
As demonstrated below, it isn’t true.
Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that war is bad for the economy:
Stiglitz wrote in 2003:
War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon. Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy.
Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan also said in that war is bad for the economy. In 1991, Greenspan said that a prolonged conflict in the Middle East would hurt the economy. And he made this point again in 1999:
Societies need to buy as much military insurance as they need, but to spend more than that is to squander money that could go toward improving the productivity of the economy as a whole: with more efficient transportation systems, a better educated citizenry, and so on. This is the point that retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) learned back in 1999 in a House Banking Committee hearing with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Frank asked what factors were producing our then-strong economic performance. On Greenspan’s list: “The freeing up of resources previously employed to produce military products that was brought about by the end of the Cold War.” Are you saying, Frank asked, “that dollar for dollar, military products are there as insurance … and to the extent you could put those dollars into other areas, maybe education and job trainings, maybe into transportation … that is going to have a good economic effect?” Greenspan agreed.
Economist Dean Baker notes:
It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.
Recurring war has drained wealth, disrupted markets, and depressed economic growth.
War generally impedes economic development and undermines prosperity.
And David R. Henderson – associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and previously a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers – writes:
Is military conflict really good for the economy of the country that engages in it? Basic economics answers a resounding “no.”
Senate: Which Groups Are We At War With? Admin: That’s Classified The Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing today on renewing the Authorization for the Use of Force (AUMF) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senators repeatedly asked representatives from the Department of Defense which groups we are at war with. And the DOD refused…Read More
Painting by Anthony Freda He Won’t Be Able to Tell His Side of the Story SecState John Kerry said that Ed Snowden really needs to “stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people.” Kerry declared that “A patriot would not run away. … He can come home but he’s…Read More