Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Interpreting The Cost
It is sometimes staggering to think about the amount of money that is funnelled through our United States government. It is truly hard to put any kind of perspective on the costs associated with policy within our government.
I recently ran across a running total of the Cost of War in Iraq. There's nothing fancy about this calculator, really. It simply is set to reach $315 billion on September 30, 2006 - the end of fiscal year 2006. The figure is reached according to Congressional appropriations, and is recalculated as further appropriations or other information is put into effect.
As of today, the cost of the war in Iraq had reached $284,520,412,865 - that's when I checked it last... but check it for yourself... the little sucker moves pretty quick.
Yesterday, we commemorated Memorial Day, and paid tribute to the human cost of war. Today, let's put aside whether you approve of the war in Iraq or disapprove of it, and simply look at the cost, relative to some other places where the money might be otherwise put to use.
For the same $284 billion dollars, we could:
Looking at the REAL reasons we went into Iraq, is the cost worth giving up ANY of these initiatives? Unfortunately, we'll never know.
Tags: cost of war, Iraq, deficit, appropriations, Congress, billions, Head Start, health insurance, teachers, scholarships, UNAIDS
Posted by FleshPresser at 12:03 AM /
The Professor posted at 8:12 AM
I hate to harp on this, but just what are, as you write, "the REAL reasons we went into Iraq"?
FleshPresser posted at 8:36 AM
That's a great question, Prof. Really wish I could answer that question. It's very telling to me that even you have to ask it.
The Professor posted at 2:45 PM
I am glad to hear that you couldn't actually answer that question. It at least means you are honest with us, and yourself. (well, as honest as you can be since you have already written "Looking at the REAL reasons we went into Iraq, is the cost worth giving up ANY of these initiatives?" which implied that *you* knew the real reasons.)
I actually believe (retiring from the military as recently as March 1st) that we went there for all the public reasons stated. Yup. All of them. And honestly, I still believe he had WMD stockpiled. I am still curious about the trucks that made it to Syria. And remember, an envelope thought to contain Anthrax was enough to scare whole cities. It isn't hard to hide, oh, I don't know, a couple mason jar sized containers, and still be enough to cause havoc, death, and destruction in major cities around the globe.
Just remember this as well--just because we didn't find everything we thought was there, doesn't mean it wasn't the actual reason for going in (and hey, Saddam had every major national intelligence agency in every major nation around the world convinced he DID have them!)
The Professor posted at 2:48 PM
One additional comment:
Why must liberals bring up the "cost of the war" and then a list of "better places to spend the money." Don't they remember, they are the ones pointing out that the debt is sky-rocketing? Seems to me, if we are to be consistent, we should argue that the money perhaps would have been better spent removing the deficit, and then paying down that debt.
Oh, and keeping the tax cuts.
(One minor point though--often the "cost of the war" includes the O&M military costs that would be paid every day, war or no war, so a little fact-digging is often required.)
FleshPresser posted at 3:11 PM
I am unable to answer the question, as we have not been told the REAL reason why we went to war. The American public has been lied to on several different occassions, and I could speculate as to the REAL reasons, but it would be just that - speculation. All I DO know is that the reasons are not justified, in my eyes.
As far as your "beliefs" (you state that you "believe that we went there for all the public reasons stated" - you are entitled to that "belief." I cannot argue against your beliefs - but understand that just because you "believe" something, doesn't make it true, or fact-based.
In terms of your additional comment, I did not suggest that the additional money SHOULD be spent. My point was that IF the money were to be spent, look at all the possible places it COULD be spent. And in terms of priorities, my "belief" is that our country and this world would be a VASTLY better place if the money were spent on priorities such as these. You may disagree - perhpas you believe that the money should be spent entirely on REALLY effectively securing our homeland, just in case one of Saddam's henchmen snuck in with a mason jar. That's fine, too.
My point was to steer AWAY from a political discussion of whether the war was right or not (a point I believe I stated in my post), and to try and mentally grasp exactly how much money has been spent on this war.
And despite the fact that you once again try to paint issues as black and white by labeling things as either "liberal" or "correct", I think if you go back and look carefully at my post, you'll see NO mention of anything "partisan" - that is, unless you're willing to conceed that all the other options I listed as possible priorities are "liberal" priorities in which conservatives have no concern or interest. Even then, I simply state that there are places where the money COULD be spent.
I'm not advocating, as an example, that we actually hire five million additional public school teachers for one year. It's simply a means by which someone can comparatively comprehend the cost.
You want to keep the tax cuts? That's fine. Just don't steal the money from my kids to do it. Bring the budget back to the place where it was when Bush inherited it (a couple of trillion extra dollars laying around) and then we can talk.