Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beating Swords Into Ploughshares

"... beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."
—Isaiah 2:4.

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develop the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes... known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare"
—James Madison

It is difficult to understand why we human beings choose to call ourselves Homo sapiens, or thinking beings. A lot of what we do simply does not make any sense whatsoever. In fact, many of the things we do portray us as the "unthinking beings."

Take for instance our penchant for destroying the very habitat we live in with chemicals and other pollutants. Our behavior has resulted in grievous harm to the very environment we need to sustain life, yet we meet, talk, speechify and pontificate without doing much to stem the tide that could destroy us as a species. Our weather patterns have been thrown out of sync with heavy rains denuding parts that were supposed to be in dry season.

Take this as another example: In 2009, the nations of the world collectively spent US$1,531 billion on military expenditures -- war toys with no other utility aside from killing ourselves.

One point five trillion dollars spent on military hardware whilst millions go unfed or underfed. Millions of human beings are without shelter and millions are without access to potable water, yet huge resources continue to be poured into manufacturing the tools that will make us better killers. Millions of people, yours truly included, are still being served with epileptic electricity supplies, yet military budgets continue to grow.

To put this into perspective, the total budget of the United Nations and all its agencies is US$30 billion a year. The UN, with all its shortcomings, still provides succor to millions across the globe, including the millions of refugees and internally-displaced persons (what a phrase!). Yet the budget of this all-important world body is only about three percent of what we clever, thinking beings splash on military expenditure.

Actually, the UN budget is less since about US$1 billion are owed the world body in arrears.

As usual, the "United Snakes of Amerikkka" leads the way. God's own country owes the UN about 90% of the arrears, yet it is the nation that still splashes 661 billion dollars on its defence.


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Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb