2008 - %3, September

Advertise on MotherJones.com

If These Are the Tainted Chinese Imports the FDA Is Catching, What Are They Missing?

| Wed Sep. 24, 2008 12:16 PM PDT

Recently released records for the month of August confirm that the FDA is still intercepting shipments of tainted seafood coming in from China. The first item on the rejection list? Frozen Breaded Shrimp, refused entry for containing "veterinary drug residues." But no Refusal Actions list is complete without the tainted Eel we've reported on previously. Sure enough, only nine items down—past the Prawn Crackers withheld for "unknown coloring" and the Unidentified White Powder lacking any directions whatsoever—there it is, the persistent Eel, Frozen, Vacuum-Packed, Prepared, Cooked, and complete with "unsafe additives."

Highlights of August's records include Frozen Cod Portions, Cod Blocks, Cod Fillets, Sole Fillets, Mahi Mahi Fillets, and Canned Chunk Tuna that were withheld for being "filthy, putrid, or decomposed," while the Frozen Squid Salad contained "a poisonous and deleterious substance." And that's just the seafood. It begs the question—if this is what the FDA is catching, what are they missing?

William Hubbard, a retired senior Food and Drug Administration official who served under seven presidents, told Mother Jones that as of this spring there were only about 300 inspectors to spot-check more than 13 million annual shipments. Given this, it's pretty certain that some of this tainted seafood is making its way onto your dinner plate.

Want more information? Here's where to find it.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Mission Creep Dispatch: William Hartung

| Wed Sep. 24, 2008 11:14 AM PDT

hartung.jpgAs part of our special investigation "Mission Creep: US Military Presence Worldwide," we asked a host of military thinkers to contribute their two cents on topics relating to global Pentagon strategy. (You can access the archive here.)

The following dispatch comes from William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation and coeditor (with Miriam Pemberton) of the recent book Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War.

How Can We Reduce the US Military Footprint?

Mother Jones' map and articles on the US global military footprint are mind-boggling, but rather than be intimidated by these facts on the ground, we need to think about what can be done about them. Chalmers Johnson suggests that the US empire may be the last of its kind, with the main political issue soon becoming "empire liquidation—peaceful or otherwise." As he rightly notes, maintaining 761 military facilities in 192 UN member states is "a remarkable example of imperial overstretch." The question of whether US imperial decline will be peaceful or violent hinges on two key questions, one culturally and psychologically driven, and one militarily driven.