Monday, April 04, 2005

Money Much Better Spent

On April 1, 2005, at around 10:50 in the morning (EST), the counter for the estimated cost of the Iraq war reached yet another unfortunate milestone as it ticked past the $160 billion mark. This number is based on the $207.5 billion that will have been spent by the end of fiscal year 2005 (September 30, 2005).

While it is difficult to consider something like where that money could have been better spent when one considers the American dead and the 100,000 Iraqis we have killed in Bush's war, it is both sad and enlightening to do exactly that.

Let's get something out of the way first: The fact that there was no reason for this war – and all of its human and financial costs – is now beyond dispute and ideological spin on either side of the aisle. The bipartisan 9/11 commission concluded that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of September 11 and that there was no discernable link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. These findings were later ratified by the Republican-lead Senate Intelligence Committee.

So don't take the word of a liberal, Democratic blogger. Simply listen to the official findings of a non-political commission and the highest-level intelligence body in the elected part of our government.

(Gratuitous swipe at the media: Given the facts presented above, why do you lemmings continue to call Bush's Iraq folly the "War on Terror?")

The National Priorities Project (which sponsors has a very instructive part of its web site in which they detail what nobler and life-affirming causes could have been served with the money we are wasting in Iraq. For example, instead of spending $160 billion killing people and trashing another country we could have made these choices instead:

  • Provided 7,757,533 students four-year scholarships at public universities
  • Allowed 21,195,026 children to attend a year of Head Start
  • Given health insurance to 95,821,846 children for one year
  • Hired 2,773,209 additional public school teachers for one year
  • Built 1,440,853 additional housing units
  • Fully funded global anti-hunger efforts for six years
  • Ensured that every child in the world was given basic immunizations for 53 years.
  • Fully funded worldwide AIDS programs for 16 years.
What America has done in Iraq is profoundly distressing on so many levels. But to consider the good that could have been done to improve our country – and the world – if that money had been used for useful purposes, piles on the cuelty even more.