Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

WAR -- The Money [Part 1]


Citizens of Indiana's 8th Congressional District have spent $772 million so far for just the Iraq War. This could have paid for 240,586 people to have health care.

Those are your children's and grand children's dollars being scattered across the bloody sands of Iraq and the dusty, dangerous streets of Baghdad. (The national debt has increased by some $2.5 trillion since the beginning of the war.) Bush and his nightmare dreamers chose, unlike all other wars America has entered into, to cut taxes while (and ask any Iraq vet who feels free to speak on this), we paid Black Water mercenaries to ruin our reputation in the world and profiteering arms corporations to supply defective body armor and inadequate equipment to our brave troops.

Experts call this the $3 Trillion war. The costs continue to skyrocket and one candidate for president in 2009 doesn't blink when talking about a one-hundred year commitment in the region.

Is it crass to speak of dollars when our fighting men and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Can mere dollars ever begin to measure their sacrifices, the physical and emotional scars so many will carry the rest of their lives?

Of course not. But the American people were lied into the war in Iraq. Those lies have been verified and publicized for years. And still anti-war groups plead with Americans in this community to stand up and speak out against the Bush policy atrocity. So truth telling doesn't work. Perhaps self-interest will.

How would you choose to spend trillions in this country, for our people?

Here's a brief list of what we didn't spend those debt dollars on. It's from a column by Bob Herbert in the March 4, 2008, New York Times.

"On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

"Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”

"Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers."

This is all part of the horrendous George Bush legacy. And the American people to a large degree are complicit. This blood splattered, opportunities lost, reputation tarnished war adventurism is also our legacy. The question now is will we sit by complacently, silently, and allow it to continue.

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