Lies and the Lying Liar

There is something of a spat going on about Donald Rumsfeld’s answer to a question about the undersupply of armor for the Humvees used in Iraq. The latest twist in the story gets to the heart of the problem. Compare this comment from the SecDef…

“It’s essentially a matter of physics, not a matter of money,” Rumsfeld said. “It’s a matter of production and the capability of doing it.”

…with this one, from the head of the group that makes the armor…

Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army.

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Tick, tick, tick…

One of the big contrasts between the US and UK is the high profile certain issues are given in the US that barely register in the UK. Chief among these is probably abortion. Opponents of abortion decry what they feel is the massive slaughter of human life. If you have any qualms about abortion the numbers are certainly disturbing; according to one summary I found, over 15 million foetuses are aborted annually.

As much as that discomforts me, the fact that over 6.3 million children die of hunger every year, one every five seconds, disturbs me more. We can argue over whether a foetus is a human, but there seems little room for negotiation about this; we’re letting real, live, self-aware children die at the rate of one Holocaust per year (and I don’t know how many adults we should add to the total). I’m not drawing any parallels with the Holocaust beyond the number, though. The Holocaust killed that many people from hate and fear; we’re killing the same number of children every year from apathy.

Perhaps ending abortion is a worthy goal. I certainly think we should do what we can to reduce such a shocking number, whether it be through better education, more available contraception or some other method. But if we can’t look after the most basic needs of the children we already have, perhaps we need to prioritize.

At a guess it took you about a minute to read this. 12 children died of starvation in that time. A friend told me that they had got some of their family members who already seem to own one of everything a more meaningful present this year by donating to a good cause. How about it?