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At the “Mesopotamian casino”, things are not very different. The sunk cost argument holds in the form of “we have to stay the course”. After all, previous arguments failed (liberators greeted with flowers, weapons of mass destruction, Judi Online24jam a self-financing occupation, peace and democracy expanding to the Middle East, etc). American taxpayers will soon have committed $200 billion to Iraq, plus the sunk cost in casualties – even though Washington has not met a single pre-war target, save deposing an already defanged Saddam Hussein.


Pill-popping nation


And then there are all those hugely expanding waistlines. Vegas, more than America’s capital of entertainment, seems to be America’s capital of obesity.


Impeccably sipping a martini at the Tabu ultra-lounge in the MGM Grand, surrounded by a brash mob, Paris-based Dr Jean-Philippe Minart, a doctor-communicator and a fixture at every major international medical congress in different domains, has granted a few minutes between meetings to talk to Asia Times Online about America’s number one problem.


“According to the World Health Judi Online24jam Organization [WHO], in a report last March, obesity is fast becoming the number one cause of mortality, before cancer. The WHO talks of a global epidemic; at first, we thought it was a purely American problem. The main causes of obesity are the uniformization of eating habits and a sedentary way of life. This is extremely serious in the US: the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta [Georgia] has announced that in 2005 obesity will be the number one cause of mortality in the US, even worse than smoking.”


Minart frames the problem in simple formulas: “The more you eat fat, the more you get obese. Just a minority of the American population exercises. Sixty-five percent of the American population is overweight.” At least now there’s deep concern among medical associations. “The first to move was the American Diabetes Association, because obesity is a major factor in the risk of diabetes and hypertension, coronary artery disease and strokes,” Dr Minart says.


He explains that there are “multiple metabolism factors which are altered by obesity, like cholesterol. Ten years ago, the first Judi Online24jam statin appeared on the market. Statin lowers cholesterol and saves lives. Cardiologists started to be interested in cholesterol and soon discovered the real problem – obesity.” The statin drug business is a business of billions. The leading statin medicine is Lipitor – a billion-dollar drug produced by Pfeizer, the world’s number one pharmaceutical giant.