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MIT & Alternet Challenge the Conventional Dumbdom

Through a series of reports by the best foreign policy thinkers at MIT’s Center for International Studies and in collaboration with the progressive news publisher Alternet as a distribution channel, entrenched tenets of US foreign policy are being systematically scrutinized. Consider the following from Ben Friedman, PhD student in MIT’s Political Science Department and a member of the Security Studies Program, from his report The Real Cost of Homeland Security:

Despite this threat inflation, spending on homeland security remains tiny compared with defense spending. The homeland security budget for fiscal year (FY) 2006 is $49.9 billion, including the Department of Homeland Security ($42 billion), up from $32 billion in FY 2001. States only spend about $1-2 billion a year on homeland security in addition to federal outlays. Private corporations spend, at most,another $10 billion. In total then, the U.S. spends about $60 [billion] annually on homeland security. The defense budget for FY 2006, without the costs of the wars, is $440 billion, an increase of $135 billion over FY 2001. The extra spending goes to weapons and personnel that have little to do with terrorism. Widespread fear of terrorism has primarily benefited the budgets of part of the national security landscape that has the least to do with it.

Check out other foreign policy papers from MIT that have appeared on Alternet. For a more extenisive listing, go to the source itself — the Center for International Studies at MIT.

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