Costs of Conflict in the Middle East

Since 1991 the cost of war to people living in the Middle East is estimated to have been $12 trillion.

Costs of Conflict in the Middle East is the title of a report released earlier this year by the Strategic Foresight Institute in Mumbai, India. The report was assembled out of a discussion process in which people from different countries and different professions came together for at least three conference sessions in different parts of the world to conceive and pull together the report.

Unlike Joseph Stiglitz's report on the costs of the Iraqi war to the US which showed that the direct and indirect costs of the war would easily be some 50 times more than the $60 billion Bush, Rumsfield and Wolfowitz told Congress and Americans it would be back in 2003, this report attempts to pull together the costs for the Iraqis, in the context of all the other conflicts wracking that part of the world. The Institute's total estimate of the cost of war and conflict damage since the starting point of 1991 they chose (First Gulf War) is $12 trillion, (about $40,000 per American) and can be compared with US GNP of a bit more than $13 trillion, or US per capita income in 2007 of around $37,000.

Blogging TSA; Counterfeit Dead Presidents

Chris Soghoian/CNET: Report: TSA site put travelers at risk...and a bit of poetic justice
Wherein the intrepid writer finds security holes @ TSA in February '07, story gets picked up by Wired, eventually spurring COOGR to investigate and release a "scathing report". (So much stupidity, arrogance, and greed, so little time to investigate and prosecute).
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Kevin G. Hall/McClatchy: U.S. counterfeiting charges against N. Korea based on shaky evidence:
. . after calling together more than 60 experts, the Secret Service — the lead U.S. agency in combating counterfeiting — never provided any details of the evidence it said it had, instead citing "intelligence" and asking those assembled to accept the administration's claims on faith alone. .. "I can't remember if I was laughing or asleep," said one person who was in the room . .

You can break a whole bunch of things without too much penalty. Faith isn't one of them.
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[Image: Tim Johnson/MCT]