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

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

THE WAR -- The Money [Part 27]

Why is there such a disconnect between the reality of the enormous costs (human and dollars) of this war and the slivers of what imagined “victory” can achieve in Iraq? In a brilliant analysis of Lincoln’s moral development ( Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography ), William Lee Miller offers this observation while examining two wartime presidents, Polk and Lincoln.

“The human inclination to self-deception and self-exculpation, . . . is magnified in collective life – in the behavior, in particular, of nations. Every nation . . . has a magnified ego and a minimized conscience. The national egotism, is a compound of the egotism and the idealism of the individuals who compose it.”

Doesn’t the self-deception and self-exculpation of the tail-enders in the Bush administration and among his dwindling supporters clearly demonstrate Millers’ point? In this we have the explanation for their frozen in place response to the heat of the facts.

While the evidence of lies, mistakes, and never to be recouped costs have piled up at the feet of Bush, McCain, and Republican congressmen on autopilot, they have refused to budge off of their self-righteous perches of power. Their magnified egos stubbornly refuse to face realities that do not fit their self-aggrandizing calculations; their minimized consciences sustain a personal and dreamy ideological romance which ignores human tears and cold cash evidence.

And November is still five months away.
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Iraq war could cost taxpayers $2.7 trillion
In addition to the cost of war, taxpayers pay for rising veteran health care costs, and returning soldiers faced with foreclosure and unemployment.

By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: June 12, 2008: 12:20 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As the Iraq war continues with no clear end in sight, the cost to taxpayers may balloon to $2.7 trillion by the time the conflict comes to an end, according to Congressional testimony.

In a hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee Thursday, members of Congress heard testimony about the current costs of the war and the future economic fallout from returning soldiers. . . .

William Beach, director of the Center for Data Analysis, told members of Congress that the Iraq war has already cost taxpayers $646 billion. That's only accounting for five years, and, with the conflict expected to drag on for another five years, the figure is expected to more than quadruple. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told members of Congress that the war costs taxpayers about $430 million per day, and called out the Bush Administration. . . .

The Bush Administration, which was invited to give testimony, declined to participate.

The Pentagon has previously said that the war costs approximately $9.5 billion a month, but some economists say the figure is closer to $25 billion a month when long-term health care for veterans and interest are factored in.

Health care: In testimony before the committee, Dr. Christine Eibner, an Associate Economist with research firm RAND, said advances in armor technology have kept alive many soldiers who would have been killed in prior wars. But that has added to post-war health care costs for veterans, especially for "unseen" wounds like post traumatic stress disorder, major depression and traumatic brain injury.

Unemployment: Furthermore, many veterans who recently completed their service are coming back to a difficult job and housing market.

Foreclosure: Many soldiers who come home from active duty are also finding difficulty keeping their homes.
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First Published: June 12, 2008: 12:07 PM EDT/ For complete CNN article:

GO HERE

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