Journalism in the Public Interest

F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt:  Where Does the Money Go, And How Is It Spent?


An Egyptian demonstrator looks up at a helicopter as he and others gather in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, on Jan. 31, 2011. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

This article has been updated to reflect new developments. It was first published on Jan. 31, 2011.

The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to cut much of the $1.55 billion in annual aid that the U.S. sends to Egypt.

The move, which has yet to be formally announced, comes after more than 1,000 Egyptians have died in a crackdown following the military coup this summer, including at least 51 who were killed on Sunday in clashes in Cairo and other cities. Most were apparently supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  

We've taken a step back and tried to answer some basic questions about the aid, including how much the U.S. is giving Egypt, what's changed in the years since the Arab Spring and what all the money buys.

How much does the U.S. spend on Egypt?

Egypt receives more U.S. aid than any country except for Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The exact amount varies from year to year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged about $2 billion a year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel. Most of that goes toward military aid. President Obama’s 2014 budget tentatively included $1.55 billion in aid, about the same amount the U.S. has sent in recent years.

Has any of the aid been cut off?

Yes. The State Department said in August that it had put a hold on some of the programs financed by the $250 million in annual economic aid to Egypt, including training programs in the U.S. for Egyptian hospital administrators, teachers and other government workers. The administration is now planning to cut off all economic aid that goes directly to the Egyptian government, U.S. officials told the New York Times on Tuesday, but not aid for education, hospitals and similar activities.

What about the military aid?

We don’t know the details yet, but it appears most of the military aid will be cut off, too. The administration, which delayed a scheduled delivery of four F-16 fighters to Egypt in July, is now planning to halt more deliveries, including helicopters, tanks and fighter jets.

It’s not clear exactly how much of the military aid — which has held steady at about $1.3 billion since 1987 — will be cut off. (The economic aid, meanwhile, has fallen by more than two-thirds since 1998.) About $585 million of the aid of the 2013 fiscal year, which ended last week, has yet to be deposited in the Egyptian government’s account in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, according to the Times.

The U.S. is unlikely to cut off aid that funds counterterrorism operations or security in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt’s border with Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to the Times and the Associated Press. The administration is expected to announce the exact cuts in the coming days.

American officials say that military aid doesn’t just promote peace between Egypt and Israel, it also gives the U.S. benefits such as “expedited processing” for U.S. Navy warships when they pass through the Suez Canal. A 2009 U.S. embassy cable released by WikiLeaks makes essentially the same point:

President Mubarak and military leaders view our military assistance program as the cornerstone of our mil-mil relationship and consider the USD 1.3 billion in annual FMF as "untouchable compensation" for making and maintaining peace with Israel. The tangible benefits to our mil-mil relationship are clear: Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace.

According to the State Department, the military aid has included tanks, armored personnel carriers, antiaircraft missile batteries and surveillance aircraft in addition to the F-16 fighters and Apache attack helicopters. In the past, the Egyptian government has bought some of the weaponry on credit.

How important is the aid to Egypt?

Pretty important. Saudi Arabia, which along with other Persian Gulf countries pledged $12 billion in aid to Egypt after the coup, promised to make up the difference in any aid cut by the U.S. or other Western nations. But much of the aid can’t easily be replaced, in particular the fancy American-made weaponry and replacements parts for them.

The Egyptian government declined to comment on the reported cuts on Wednesday.

“We have not been officially informed of any change,” BadrAbdellaty, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, told the Washington Post. “Until the administration takes its decision and informs us officially, we cannot comment.”

Does the aid require Egypt to meet any specific conditions regarding human rights?

Not really. When an exiled Egyptian dissident called on the U.S. to attach conditions to aid to Egypt in 2008, Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., who had recently stepped down as the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, told the Washington Post the idea was "admirable but not realistic." And then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2009 that military aid "should be without conditions" at a Cairo press conference.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, led Congress in adding language to a spending bill in 2011 to make aid to Egypt conditional on the secretary of state certifying that Egypt is supporting human rights and being a good neighbor. The language requires that Egypt abide by the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, support "the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections," and put in place policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law." It sounds pretty tough, but it's not.

Has American aid to Egypt ever been cut off before?

No. Congress threatened to block aid last year when Egypt began a crackdown on a number of American pro-democracy groups. A senior Obama administration official said that then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had no way to certify the conditions set out in the spending bill were being met.

But Clinton waived the certification requirement (yes, the secretary of state can do that) and approved the aid, despite concerns about Egypt's human rights record. The reason? "A delay or cut in $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt risked breaking existing contracts with American arms manufacturers that could have shut down production lines in the middle of President Obama's re-election campaign," the New York Times reported. Breaking the contracts could have left the Pentagon on the hook for $2 billion.

Doesn’t the U.S. have to cut off foreign aid after a coup?

The Foreign Assistance Act mandates that the U.S. cut aid to any country “whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.” But in July the White House decided that it was not legally required to decide whether Morsi, who was democratically elected last year, was the victim of a coup — which allowed the aid to keep flowing. “We will not say it was a coup, we will not say it was not a coup, we will just not say,” an anonymous senior official told the New York Times.

As the Washington Post’s Max Fisher points out, Obama and his predecessors have dealt this kind of thing before. The president cut some aid to Honduras after a coup in 2009 and to Mali and the Central African Republic after coups there in 2012, but not all of it. And those countries aren’t nearly as important to U.S. foreign policy as Egypt. President Bill Clinton cut some aid to Pakistan after a coup there in 1999, but President George W. Bush reinstated all of it after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Obama’s refusal to call it a coup infuriated Morsi supporters. “What is a coup?” Wael Haddara, a senior adviser to Morsi, told the New York Times. “We’re going to get into some really Orwellian stuff here.”

What about economic aid and efforts to promote democracy?

The various economic aid efforts have had mixed results. The State Department has described the Commodity Import Program, which gave Egypt millions of dollars between 1986 and 2008 to import American goods, as "one of the largest and most popular USAID programs." But an audit of the four-year, $57 million effort to create agricultural jobs and boost rural incomes in 2007 found that the program “has not increased the number of jobs as planned.” And an audit of a $151 million program to modernize Egypt's real estate finance market in 2009 found that, while the market had improved since the program began, the growth was "not clearly measureable or attributable" to the aid efforts.

The U.S. has also funded programs to promote democracy and good government in Egypt — again with few results. It has sent about $24 million a year between 1999 and 2009 to a variety of NGOs in the country. According to a 2009 inspector general's audit, the efforts didn't add much due to "a lack of support" from the Egyptian government, which "suspended the activities of many U.S. NGOs because Egyptian officials thought these organizations were too aggressive."

recent audit of the European Union’s €1 billion — about $1.35 billion —aid program found that it had been “well-intentioned but ineffective” in promoting good governance and human rights. And a WikiLeaks cable revealed the Egyptian government had asked USAID in 2008 to stop financing NGOs that weren't properly registered.

Marian Wang contributed reporting.

Figures?????? We can spend this kind of money (billions a year) on a foreign country, but not take care of our own!

Thank you for this article, ProPublica!  I read every word and learned a lot. 

Of course, I was disappointed to see that the U.S. had given up on direct funding to NGOs and on pushing Mubarak toward democratization.  Thirty years—$60 billion dollars, the lion’s share invested in the Mubarak military instead of the great society…and in his personal accounts, no doubt.  He brought this on himself, didn’t he? 

I wonder why personnel on the ground, working in the NGOs, did not foresee this revolution?  A lot of rage to have happened overnight; this was a high speed train barreling to the station—someone must have heard it coming.

Thomas Solyan

Jan. 31, 2011, 5:45 p.m.

With Egypt being only one of many military aid recipients, it makes me wonder how the US and other “generous” governments can hold a straight face when they use the word “peace”.

You do realize that the helicopter in that photo is Russian-made, right?

and we wonder why our country is broke and deeply in debt?

@ Leo Cotnoir:

Help me grasp the implications; what is the formal and/or popular name and model number of the pictured helicopter?


Elizabeth Berry

Jan. 31, 2011, 6:05 p.m.

$1.3 billion a year is not all the money that the U.S. taxpayers fork over to Egypt.  In 1991 Egypt yoked itself to an IMF structural adjustment program and embarked on a series of wide-ranging economic reforms when Hosni Mubarak signed up for the IMF loan. Over the past 20 year they have gotten billions of dollars in such loans.  The IMF is funded by taxpayers of western nations like the USA. IMF funding is slipped as foreign pork into other bills. For example, in June of 2009, funding for the IMF was slipped into a $106 billion war supplemental bill.

“Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel.” What an odd sentence for “unbiased” writing. That’s almost like writing, “The U.S. is the only country in North America, except Canada.” Wouldn’t this be better?: “After Israel, Egypt gets the second most U.S. foreign aid… ”

The alternative, a war between I and E would be far more costly to us all. Furthermore, it looks like those tax dollars are largely being spent in the U.S. Sounds like a great stimulus program to me. Look at all the positives!

unique jenessa

Jan. 31, 2011, 6:33 p.m.

STOP ECONOMIC AID FROM US TO ISRAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

joão melgarejo

Jan. 31, 2011, 6:41 p.m.

a história se repete e os povos não aprendem. os eua sempre apoiaram quaisquer ditaduras enquanto estas serviam seus interesses, a partir disso, exigem democracia, desde é claro que continue tudo como antes. foi assim em anos mais recentes com iraque, portugal, espanha, egito e outros. agora por exemplo querem a saida de mubarak mas recusam qualquer muçulmano.

I cited Chua’s World on Fire book.-Her thesis is that ‘market dominant minorities’ in many countries around the world are creating a cycle of deep poverty
amongst the ‘majority populations’ leading to mass uprisings more frequently now.

joão melgarejo says:

The history is repeated and the peoples do not learn how. the U.S.A. always supported any dictatorships while these served his interests, from that, require democracy, since is clear that continues everything as before. was like this in more recent years with Iraq, Portugal, Spain, Egypt and others. now by example want it left of mubarak but refuse any Moslem.

This, coupled with CIA meddling brought this about. We are instigators of war the world over. We are the bullies on the block.

This is atrocious. It isn’t a matter of having to reform the government at this juncture, it is a matter of when we the people will get our act together enough to oust our current government. It has gone so far beyond out of control.

Just as Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex. Here we are. We are the cause of terrorism. We are the cause of war. It is absolutely disgusting. And we put up with it, so we deserve this crap. Now look at what we are getting.

Democracy will be a thing of the past if we do not fix our government and take our country back. We are not even supposed to be a democracy anyway—the word was never even mentioned once in the constitution. We need to put major pressure on our senators and congressman, and we need to exercise the rights that we have as people of this supposed free country and fire our government. We have these rights. The constitution does still in fact exist. And we can do this, but we need to organize ourselves and act as one. Times a-waisting.

Morris Foutch

Jan. 31, 2011, 7:32 p.m.

I noticed two or more F-16 fighters doing sweeps over Cairo and the presence of numerous M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks lumbering thru the square. I also read in a Reuters story that the Egyptians are manufacturing this very sophisticated tank. As an old cold war vet who spent years in the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment, I am simply astouded that we have given away our technology to any other country such as Egypt. Britain, France, Germany are all reliable allies, but any Middle East nation causes real dyspepsia at my house. Really disgusting and I want this business stopped.

Sovereign Citizen

Jan. 31, 2011, 7:42 p.m.


The PRESSURE we need to put on our Congress is to COMPEL them to call an Article V Amendments Convention NOW!  It is the only LAWFUL method of change—voting them out will take six generations if voting is done perfectly.  Supposedly it only requires 34 states applying for a convention to trigger Congress to call the convention, because it’s MANDATED in Article V of the U.S. Constitution.  So far there’s over 750 applications by all 50 states for a convention, which will allow the states (only) to PROPOSE amendments to be submitted to all 50 states for possible RATIFICATION—then it becomes high law of the land.

The U.S. Solicitor General has admitted that Congress (all of ‘em) are in CRIMINAL violation of their oath of office by NOT calling a convention as MANDATED by Article V of the U.S. Constitution.


Dick Brandlon

Jan. 31, 2011, 7:46 p.m.

We supplied Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt and anyone else who is “vital to American interests” with whatever weapons they feel they need, but no one asks “What interests?”
Could they be corporate?

Of course the interests of those who profit from the foreign aid arrangements of the US are corporate interests. Check out “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Visitors to Egypt who knew it in the early 1980s are amazed by the modernization that has taken place over thirty years.  Change has been slow, but it has added up.

Change accelerated in 2004 when Gamal Mubarak was allowed to name an Economic Cabinet of experts.  The quality of government improved markedly in tax administration and customs administration, and in Egypt’s cooperation with trade partners.  This inside-baseball element of economic management pays off in terms of the quality of jobs the economy can generate.

Outside government, professional training in economic management expanded thanks to initiatives like creation of an American LL.M. program to in commercial law.

Not nearly enough has been accomplished, of course, but what was accomplished should not be overlooked, especially given the resistance that the modernizers constantly faced from Egypt’s political old guard.  Nonetheless, Egypt was the World Bank’s “Doing Business” reformer of the year in 2008.

The modernizing leaders drew intensively on financial assistance and technical inputs provided by USAID, the U.S. Government’s development assistance agency.  The amount of money involved in these traditional, non-political USAID projects was a small fraction of the numbers that are cited for overall financial flows, and it was highly productive.

Charles Whitcomb

Jan. 31, 2011, 9:22 p.m.

Did anyone even watch Lawrence Of Arabia? When old white guys arrive in an area and start drawing borders, it is only a matter of time before the people who actually live there get pissed off. So we put crooked dictators in place to hold onto our border plans for as long as they can.
Just like the Native People of our continent, the culture has to be erased or else it will fight back, throw us out and there will be sorry consequences for a century. Tribal lands do not conform to any of the so-called borders in the desert east. Egypt is no exception. This will not be a short ride at all.

Kevin A. McDonald

Jan. 31, 2011, 9:37 p.m.

The helicopter looks like a Soviet ‘Hind”.

Kevin A. McDonald

Jan. 31, 2011, 9:38 p.m.

The pictured helicopter appears to be a Soviet-‘Hind’..

I think the Egyptian people are incredibly brave.We should start to think about thier human rights and stop manipulating other governments for our own selfish needs! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

u.s hospitals closing, teachers fired, infrastructure outdated, national debt obscene, money for endless wars, corporate profits soaring, millions without health care and we spend billions to support dictators. When will Americans demand more ffom our corporate funded and controlled government?

Raymond in DC

Feb. 1, 2011, 9:14 a.m.

unique jenessa writes (really shouts), ” STOP ECONOMIC AID FROM US TO ISRAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ” Get your facts straight. The economic aid component of US aid to Israel has been on a downward trajectory since the late 1990s. They currently get NO economic aid; it’s all military now. Which is why some are arguing it should be moved out of the Foreign Aid bill into the Defense Department’s military assistance program.

And if you think the US shouldn’t be spending some $3 billion annually on that assistance, consider how much it would cost the US to do the job itself. How much is the US spending just in Germany or South Korea?

The real question re Egypt is why they need such advanced weaponry in the first place. Is it to fight against Libya or Sudan? The US may think it’s just to keep the Egyptian military content, but is the US going to find those arms used in a future confrontation against ... Israel?

The $1.3 billion given annually to Egypt was part of the 1979 peace accord as indicated in the article. We give Israel more than twice that much as part of the same grand bargain also with no strings attached. It was and remains a small price to pay to promote the goals of peace and stability in this region. As the ME situation continues to evolve and governments change, so too will USG policies and with the same goals in mind.

<quote>George W.  Bush had threatened [...] but…didn’t follow through.</quote>

You can never depend upon the right’s - be they overt Republicans, or the puppets in their propaganda organs and institutes - words.vvYou have to judge them by what they do - for when the right speaks, the right lies.

Even on the rare occasion when it appears that they have done or propose something beneficial to the American people, you have to dig…and analyze the true long-term consequences with an eye towards ascertaining whether the few they truly represent will be the final beneficiaries - and whether the many will pay a terrible penalty for the further ascension of the few.

I give you, for example, “flood-up/trickle-down” economics, deregulation, and inequitable free trade…all Republicans policies, all with long-term and tragic consequences for America and the American people.

Their foreign policy is exactly the same:  Designed to benefit not America, but the few who desire access to resources and/or markets.

And with, perhaps, the occasional crumb for the religions they profess.

Thanks for this. There is finally attention being paid to this issue.  Pity it took a revolution for the US and its media to wake up to how US funding has been and is being spent in Egypt.  I wrote about this very issue over a month ago, linking US military aid and human rights in Egypt:
It is the responsibility of journalists and citizens to keep alive the issue of US military funding to repressive regimes, investigate it and change it.

This is not including the millions the US government (through USAID) and private/state institutions spend on archaeological work in Egypt.

I’ve cited to colleagues your use of USAID Inspector General audit quotes as an example of how IG reports can mislead readers who do not understand how the IG works.

Interesting, Joe Ryan.  The scornful and derisive nature of your comment leads me to wonder:

Are you a political appointee to USAID, or a part of a private entity that derives significant profit from the distribution of USAID funding?

lolll…although a quick scan of available documentation via the search terms “joe ryan usaid” suggests a firmly entrenched bureaucrat with an extraordinary amount of spare time available for posting comments on the internet.

Please take down ad hominem comments that don’t relate to the article.

“Ad hominem”? 

A request for some background as to why you feel that you have the knowledge or authority to condemn facts presented by an entity that operates in the public interest is an “ad hominem”?

I would state that your 7:13 AM remark to the effect that Pro Publica’s interpretation of IG reports is an example of people speaking of what they do not have the ability to comprehend is an “ad hominem”, en masse.

I.e., back up your assertion with precisely how the IG reports have been…misinterpreted, what the facts actually are, and provide the source of your knowledge as well as substantive reasons for the reader to agree with the presumption that you have expertise on both the inner functioning of USAID and the shortcomings of the IG.

Article V Convention

Each state start Article V org to enforce congress criminal violation of oath.

Key on the most prominent congress person in each state.

Don’t we have that option??????

Maybe this posting will make up for the shortcomings of my previous one on misreading inspection reports.  I’ll start with an analogy.

If you went to a doctor with a broken finger, you wouldn’t want him/her to say “99% of your bones are fine, don’t bother me.”  Similarly, IG reports don’t gloss over issues just because a program is generally working okay: rather the IG report is meant to hone in on whatever issues it can find.

Would you want the person with the broken finger on your softball team?  Well, it’s impossible to say without knowing more: could be a great player, maybe not.  The broken finger is not a plus, but after the doctor has checked it and wrapped it maybe it’s not a critical problem.

Similarly, an IG report is not the same thing as a program evaluation.  Issues that the IG identifies are often addressed immediately and by the time the IG issues the report corrective action is complete.

Socioeconomic development programs in low-income countries are more difficult to know about than domestic programs.  The local socioeconomic context is really quite different and the reasons and objectives for programs may be different from what you might imagine.  Working conditions make progress difficult.  As one is crossing borders the programs are inevitably political, with the built-in controversy that entails, which results in many communications that stem more from political rivalry than from scientific motives.

The people working on the programs are far away and don’t have much opportunity to interact with the public at home.

Conclusion: the “FAQ on U.S. Aid to Egypt” drew on IG reports without presenting the context you would need to decide, for example, whether you want U.S. aid on your team when you engage with the new government that Egypt will hopefully have soon.  The more you know—and I tried to provide some relevant information in my January 31 posting, the more you might like to have it with you.  You might even like to have it pitch for you—especially if that finger is properly mended.

Perhaps the problem is that the Pro Publica article and the IG report had specific facts and brought those forth, whereas the arguments made to convince the reader that they should ignore those facts or assume that they have been corrected are bland generics that again ask the reader to assume the value of USAID without providing specifics other than (from your 2011/01/31):

“The quality of government improved markedly in tax administration and customs administration, and in Egypt’s cooperation with trade partners.”

When I look at that sentence, what I see is USAID put a whole lot of effort into helping foreign - presumably American, of course - corporations to do business in Egypt.

Now there is no doubt that the Egyptians whose connections made them logical business “partners” benefited greatly…and, coincidentally I’m sure, ensuring their support of Mubarak no matter how repressive he chose to be, and also - of course - ensuring their “pro-Western” attitude.

Those are all things that are good for Corporate America - to include Big Oil - and those whose desire to see religion replaced by the more secular nature of greed.

But as for the people - the Joe and Jane Averages of Egypt - that helped them how?  It appears from the “specifics” given that USAID now means aid for US business…

From the article:  ‘Under that program, the U.S. gives Egypt millions in economic aid to import U.S. goods. The State Department, on its website, describes it as “one of the largest and most popular USAID programs.”’

Speaking of popular…me, I’m thinking that would make some USAID bureaucrats extremely popular with interested U.S. corporations.

You could be pretty daggone flexible with your margins if you knew your USAID guy was going to ensure that any exorbitant price increase you tacked on specifically for Egyptian sales would be concealed by a hefty U.S. taxpayer subsidy.  A decent price for the Egyptian people and a big fat profit for you, all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. 

Why, at the very least you’d probably feel obligated to “wine and dine” the heck out of your USAID guy…

So USA sends money to support dictators around the world… It happens for some… decades in many countries?

And using speech of freedom and peace. Very hypocrite. Then usa people get surprised when hear that many from the world considered USA the villain.

Mayme Trumble

Feb. 5, 2011, 6:58 a.m.

“Critics of the Obama administration’s economic aid to Egypt have noted that in 2007, for instance, such aid only amounted to $6 per capita, compared with the $40.80 per capita spent on Jordan that same year.”

Obama wasn’t President in 2007.

My latest letter to editor (CA)....and just a few sources…there are so many more!

For too long the U.S. has perceived the Middle East, and the Muslim world at large, through the focus of Israel and oil, providing Israel with massive military aid, economic assistance, political cover and diplomatic shelter that continues to deny Palestinians their legitimate rights under UN resolutions, prolonging their suffering and misery.
Thirty-two years ago the U.S. “lost” Iran and has since been in a hostile relationship with it for its refusal to admit its role in maintaining the murderous regime of the Shah. It is doubtful whether the U.S. government has learned any lessons and whether it would be willing now to clearly and completely side with the people of Egypt or respect their will to be free from the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.
In securing its short-term interests of oil and military bases, successive U.S. administrations have favored dictatorships and brutal, repressive regimes in the name of stability at the expense of the right of self-determination to indigenous peoples.
As with the Shah of Iran; Hussein, Iraq; “Papa Doc”, Haiti; Noriega, Panama; Marcos, Philippines; Somoza, Nicaragua; Batista, Cuba, and many more, America continues with its hypocritical foreign policies mouthing “human rights” but financing brutality with the consequent inevitable revolutions and violent political blowback. Mubarak is just the latest “democratic clone” of US policy.
George Washington in 1796 warned his countrymen and women against the “passionate attachment” to a foreign country and advised them that “against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

“The Making of Egypt’s Revolution” February 1, 2011
Other sources:
“Killing Hope” William Blum (Book)
Tariq Ali Counterpunch February 2, 2011
“Why Egyptians are Calling Obama the, ‘Black Bush’” Counterpunch February 2, 2011
“Mubarak’s Last Gasps” Counterpunch Weekend Edition on-line February 4, 2011
“The Sleeper Awakens” Counterpunch February 4, 2011
I would also add Chalmers Johnson’s excellent book: “Nemesis”

Since Isrial has been discussed here,why do we continue to fund a country with socialized medecine,something the USA cannot afford? If Isrial was paying for their own defence rather than having the USA funding it,maybe they would have medical insurance like we do? How about it neo-cons,let Isrial have our health care system.

Sierra emoted:  George Washington in 1796 warned his countrymen and women against the “passionate attachment” to a foreign country and advised them that “against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

Ironic, don’t you think - in light of the “conservative” effort via Citizens United to open the door to not just anti-democratic entities of a domestic nature, but also to foreign “investors”?

steves beschakis

Feb. 11, 2011, 1:59 p.m.

no more free goodies for the “nation” of “Isn’t-real.”

Thomas Solyan

Feb. 12, 2011, 9:23 a.m.

I am not so niave to think that the money we give to these counties in military aid does not get paid back in multiples of massive proportions through contracts to buy even more from us. It would be easy to say ” all this money would be better spent elsewhere”, say on domestic needs, which it probably could. But, as the military industrial complex is one of very few areas where the US still makes money, lots and lots of it, and witout it there would be no money to"give away”.

In no way do I believe this is a good thing, but reality rarely is. It is easy to live is a dream world and imagine that witout us there would be no weapons and war, but as the Russian hellicopter refered to above clearly shows if we do not others will.

It reminds me of the dreamers spouting that the hippys stopped the Vietnam war, though they forgot to tell the millions of Cambodians and Laotians who were murderd by the communist the minute we “stopped” the war.

@Thomas Solyan:  Your comment re “..though they forgot to tell the millions of Cambodians and Laotians who were murderd by the communist the minute we “stopped” the war”?

Totally bogus.  I happened to be in and about northeastern Thailand from March of ‘75 through April of ‘76 on behalf of the U.S. military, and your comment strikes me as being more of the armchair generalship that those who deem themselves “warriors-from-a-safe-distance” (or “conservatives”, if you prefer) are infamous for.

Those situations in Laos and Cambodia were in no way contingent upon the presence or absence of U.S. forces in Vietnam; the developments were independent movements, and our removing the heat on communist operations in Vietnam had nothing to do with the eventual atrocities in Laos and Cambodia.  For us to have stopped it would have required the force strength from the height of the Vietnam war times three spread out over four times the geographical area when we never really had enough troops for Vietnam!!!

And you chickenhawks don’t like to remember it, but it was the communist government of Vietnam - via the North (ok, drop the North) Vietnamese Army - that went into Cambodia and put an end to Pol Pot’s genocidal rule.

Gad…I never met anything approaching a modern American “conservative” in the six years I was in the Army…and I’m glad, because we would have lost more good Americans satiating chickenhawk blood lust.

lolll….Vietnam would never have happened had Ho had the good sense to profess capitalism while practicing communism - as the People’s Republic of China does now.

You don’t see our “conservatives” hesitating before selling the American people and the United States of America out to those communists, do you?

To vent the remainder of my fury:  I cannot believe so many Americans cannot see through our right.

You have to go by what they do, not what they say.  And they have a long history of doing business with dictators who harshly oppress their people…of doing business with the PRC, although the PRC terrorizes the people of Tibet and tortures and imprisons their own who dare to expose the communist regime’s extremes.

Our right…our right is motivated solely by greed and the lust for power.  If you obey their cardinal rule - how they define capitalism - by letting them get more out of your nation than they put in (i.e., “profit”), then you can do what you will with your people…

Although they would just prefer that you be discrete about it.

Heck, they even try to bring harm to the American people whenever they can…they are forever creating economic conditions that put Americans in need, and then trying to cut all safety nets out from under them.

lolll…our right?  They’re throwbacks…barely civilized.  To use a literary reference (of a sort), they are prevented from playing the part of Saruman or even Sauron of The Lord of the Rings only by the strength of the rules we bind them with. 

Give them half a chance - the requisite power - and they’ll break even those rules as witnessed by Bush, Cheney, & PNAC, LLP’s intentional and eager breaking of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

Yet they claim to be the party of morality just so that they can distract the American people with what are at worst small evils all so that they can attain the power to commit great evils.

You shouldn’t give them the power to play with Armies…whether that be authority over our military, or empowering them to create and arm military forces in other nations.  They always work evil.

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