The Military-Financial-Industrial Complex
Stories from major newspapers this week have examined this moment of crisis for American foreign policy in the Middle East. Afghanistan is expected to receive more American troops, while a run-off is being held due to election fraud. The President’s brother works for the CIA, Al Qaida is attacking civilians in Pakistan and the 2010 military budget provides for more classified programs than nearly ever before.
The American press has widely blamed the election fraud that occurred during Hamid Karzai’s reelection as President of Afghanistan on Karzai himself. Karzai, during a live video interview with Diane Sawyer, claims the Afghan election commission is unduly influenced by foreign governments (the US and Pakistan).
The New York Times recently uncovered that Karzai’s brother is a CIA operative who recruits and trains an Afghan militia operating mostly in Kandahar. This discovery is but the latest chapter of the CIA’s involvement in Afghanistan, where during the Cold War it quietly routed arms through Pakistan on their way to Afghan anti-communist fighters with an agenda of their own.
How tragic then that as Secretary Clinton arrives in Pakistan, Al Qaida is assumed responsible for killing over 90 civilians in Peshawar, a city near the Afghan border where violent fundamentalists are suspected to traffic soldiers and arms.
In Washington today, Obama signed the 2010 military budget providing the Department of Defense, headed by the former CIA Chief Robert Gates, with $680 billion (the same amount as the economic stimulus package). The bill is a $162 billion dollar increase from last year’s military budget; classified programs have reached their second highest funding level ever.
In proof that the military-industrial complex is still chugging along, Gates wants to reduce contractors to 26% of paid Pentagon staff; currently contractors represent 34% of the Pentagon’s salaried employees. Financial news organizations like Market Watch have followed the stock prices of US weapons developers since the budget’s signing.
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The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.
- Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
- The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
- The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
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