Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Susan Faludi, 9/11, and the Military

I was wondering what Susan Faludi was up to these days. Turns out, she's written a new book, on 9/11. She also has her own website:


She currently lives in S.F., so perhaps one day I'll get to meet her. I loved reading Backlash and Stiffed.

Surprisingly, the NY Times trashed her new book, The Terror Dream, which I haven't read. Ms. Faludi's main thesis seems to be that 9/11 caused American culture to revert to the old-fashioned paradigms--men as protectors and women as helpless beings needing male protection. I think Ms. Faludi makes a good point, but my angle would have been that fear became a big business post-9/11, which negatively impacts both genders.

When the culture is in a state of fear, it's easy to finance war and more difficult to speak up for peace. For instance, our deficits require us to cut spending, but the 2010 defense budget will be at least $533 billion--a 4% increase over 2009, and the largest expenditure in the 2010 budget when funding is viewed by department. Advocating defense spending cuts doesn't mean you also have to cut soldiers' salaries. It's possible to give America's armed forces a pay raise and still cut the defense budget substantially.

To put the Dept of Defense's $533 billion budget in perspective, the Dept of Homeland Security will receive $42.7 billion in 2010; the Dept of Treasury gets $13.3 billion; and the Dept of Transportation gets $72.5 billion. More stats can be found here.

At least President Obama got rid of the costly F-22 project, for which he should be lauded. Some other defense items were also cut, including a program called a "transformational satellite" (TSAT). "The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that the revised date for the launch of the first satellite was 2019 -- almost four years later than previously scheduled."

Random fact: 227,500 men and women from California serve in the military.

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