By Dave Lindorff
Part of the military's $20.2 billion annual A/C budget by ThisCantBeHappening
The United States Military is spending $20.2 billion a year for air-conditioning the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read that again please: $20.2 billion just to provide air-conditioning for our troops in these two desert countries.
How much is $20.2 billion?
Well, I live in Pennsylvania, where the eighth-largest school district in the country, here in Philadelphia, is about to lose 1300 of its 11,000 teachers--that's 12% of the teaching staff in an already overcrowded school system, because the state's Republican governor and legislature want to cut some $500 million in education funding from the state's $27-billion budget. That military air-conditioning bill could not only restore those teachers by closing the $400 million budget deficit facing the Philadelphia School District. It could almost fund the entire budget of the state! In fact, it could probably fund the school budget deficit in almost all the school districts in the nation.
$20.2 billion is more than the entire budget of the state of North Carolina!
It is the same as the $20-billion shortfall expected next year in the federal Pell Grant program that provides scholarship aid to low-income students attending college.
It is about one-forth of the entire budget of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
It is two-and-a-half times the size of the entire 50-state federal Head Start program of early childhood education.
Now I know our soldiers have it tough over there in the 120-130-degree heat in Iraq, and it's pretty hot in Afghanistan too, at least in the valleys. But then again, very few Iraqis and even fewer Afghans have air-conditioning. Many have probably never even seen an air-conditioner. And most, if they had one, wouldn't have any electricity to run it with. (That's why air conditioning is so costly for the US military. Not only do they have to ship in the A/C units. They have to truck in the gas to run the generators to produce the electricity to run the A/C, at great personal risk to the drivers of the fuel trucks).
That $20.2 billion, by the way, is also about a tenth of the total cost of the two ongoing wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent online alternative newspaper now beginning it's second year of daily publication, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/674