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Dollars for Death, Pennies for Life

Norman Solomon @ Common Dreams - When the U.S. military began a major offensive in southern Afghanistan over the weekend, the killing of children and other civilians was predictable. Lofty rhetoric aside, such deaths come with the territory of war and occupation.

A month ago, President Obama pledged $100 million in U.S. government aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti. Compare that to the $100 billion price tag to keep 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a year.

Joblessness is now crushing many low-income Americans. Among those with annual household incomes of less than $12,500, the unemployment rate during the fourth quarter of last year "was a staggering 30.8 percent," Bob Herbert noted in a February 9 column. "That's more than five points higher than the overall jobless rate at the height of the Depression."

Herbert added: "The next lowest group, with incomes of $12,500 to $20,000, had an unemployment rate of 19.1 percent. These are the kinds of jobless rates that push families already struggling on meager incomes into destitution."

The current situation is akin to the one that Martin Luther King Jr. confronted in 1967 when he challenged Congress for showing "hostility to the poor" -- appropriating "military funds with alacrity and generosity" but providing "poverty funds with miserliness." Read more.

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