Monday, March 24, 2008

What Does $720 Million Buy?

The daily cost of the Iraq War is estimated at $720 million. The Iraq War supplemental funding bills passed by Congress comes to $410 billion for four years or about $280 million/day. The additional $440 million/day represents the costs already incurred but not yet paid for such as paying the interest on the war debt, caring for the wounded, replenishing military equipment and rebuilding Iraq. These future costs are based upon the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Does anybody think this is a wise expenditure at this point? Think about what $720 million could buy instead:

Are we any safer for having invaded Iraq? I don't think so. Add in the cost of the lives lost and the billions squandered and it is a sorry fucking state of affairs that this administration (and the rubber stamp Congress) has gotten us into.

Here's hoping Obama wins and gets us out of Iraq quickly.



Anybody who has had to endure my postings for some time knows my thoughts on our invasion of Iraq. Afghanistan was different(it isn't now though, we(and NATO) should have been out of there after Tora Bora), but Iraq was a mistake from the beginning(my main source for info in the situation in Iraq disagrees and maintains Iraq was the best of a bunch of bad options)and that we should have fought Al Qaeda in a covert war. We should have pressured Saudi Arabia from funding Al Qaeda by other means than invading Iraq.

This being said, I still don't see how any of the candidates are going to be able to extricate our troops in any type of short term time span. Because we have inserted ourselves into the middle of this volatile area and the surrounding countries have reconciled themselves to our presence and even come to rely on our presence, to just pick up and walk away will compound the original mistake.

One mistake the average citizen makes(and reasonably so, as our government(the administration) still does it's very best to lie, obfuscate and bait and switch all information about our position in Iraq)is to blame the Iraqi government for keeping us there. The Iraqi government does not have the power to make any decisions concerning the security of the country. Iran and the US are the only ones who can negotiate the end of the conflict. Our country and Iran are now acting like Greco-Roman wrestlers circling each other, probing for weaknesses, looking for any advantage. On one side the Iranians(the Shia)want to have an Iraq which will become there satellite at best or are a benign neighbor unable to attack it at worst. Our forces have enlisted Sunni tribes in Awakening Councils to stop Iran and it's Shia proxies from taking over the whole country and testing the borders of the Sunni countries to the south(which we have security agreements with). For these reasons I still maintain none of the candidates will be able to bring the troop count to zero in their first term.

The costs, the deaths, the paint thrown on our international reputation, the apathy of our citizenry are all reasons(of course I could list a bunch more, but this will suffice)why this President is the most reprehensible President in history and as I told a friend of mine recently, should be drawn and quartered and then summararily executed for treason against the Constitution. And I am not kidding.

Ceroill said...

I knew some years ago that the pres was intending us to be a continuing presence there when I saw a preview of what the planned embassy was supposed to be like. With a huge complex like that, it was obvious there's an intent to keep us there as a permanent presence.

csm said...

Does anybody else think that Cheney's Middle East trek is a prelude to bombing Iran?

Ceroill said...

Well, it's been obvious for years that he's been salivating for it.


The military could revolt if the dipshits minding the store try to take on Iran. First off, there aren't any troops to send to Iran(unless you want to take them out of Iraq). We are stretched to the snapping point. The best we could do would be to attack them strictly from the air which would not get the job done. Iran is a much bigger country than Iraq and we cannot even control a smaller country(Iraq) with the manpower we have in the area now. The military knows this even if the Commander in Chief doesn't(I gotta think he has to, but who knows).

This would also be a collossal blunder because the only way we will get out of Iraq is by negotiating with Iran over what the new Iraqi government will look like. I have been advocating talking to Iran for awhile now as Iran is just trying to elbow it's way to the table of regional powerbrokers which if you think about it, shouldn't be that far- fetched. The main problem for accommodation is the nasty rhetoric both governments have reserved for each other and how they will explain to their respective populations that all is better now.

I caught the first part of the PBS documentary, "Bush's War",(just couldn't stay up for the second part)and it opened up my eyes as to how evil Cheney really is. This man has no concern for opposing viewpoints, lives of servicepeople or compassion for co-workers if they don't tow his line. Personalities fall short when it comes to problem solving; it takes reasoned thought and new ideas of which I detect a deficit when it comes to this administration which would not surprise me if they still believe in the "domino" theory. Political wars will always be unjust in our free society and the sooner the people in power learn and retain this thought the better we will be.

One last thought, my previous post ended with the execution of our Dummander and Thief; in the same firing line I would include the current Veep and the former SOD(SOB, maybe)Rummy. They shouldn't get a dime from their pensions and a small bit of evil will have left this world.

Ceroill said...

Agreed on all counts, Bawdy.

Heck, I still remember the thoughts going through my mind back when this all (Iraq) started. First you have Bush obviously having no confidence in the inspectors we had over there looking for stuff, so much so that rather than let them complete their job he pulled them out.

Then he parked a fleet of ships off in the gulf, and issued ultimata, as if he actually expected Saddam to comply with such. The answer was, of course, that he (they, the little coterie of warmongers) didn't expect the man to comply, giving them at least a flimsy pretext for going in.

csm said...

Oh, I don't think Cheney and W are thinking about ground troops in Iran. I think they are ruminating on bunker buster bombs to take out the nuclear facilities. Cheney may be over there informing the ME leaders of this possibility to gauge their reaction about possible radioactive fallout from such a bombing raid.

I think it would be phenomenally stupid, but a Cheney himself might say, "so what?"



My first thoughts when Iraq was brought into the equation was - what better way to produce more jihadists. Osama became anti-US when we stationed US military personnel on sacred Muslim lands during Iraq 1. It doesn't take a rocket scientist(hey, I am living proof)to figure out attacking a relatively innocent(before any of you fuckers(and you know who you are) have a coronary over this term, it strictly means Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11)Islamic country would give fodder to the Islamic zealots. I would like to think we fell into a trap, but the trappers just happen to be the ones entrusted with our own security.


As far as the bunker busters, my bet would be that Israel would be the bomb droppers, mainly to give us a semblance of deniability. Israel does alot of our dirty work, most recently the assassination of the Hezbollah chief last month. Pretty much everybody thinks the Mossad was the trigger. Most people think Israel was bombing a nascent nuclear facility in Syria a few months back. Israel has also been "pinging" Syria's air defense systems(which are similar to Iran's)too. There again, attacking Iran would keep us from coming to any agreement on Iraq, but Bush has shown he has nary a dislike for a stupid move, so nothing is for certain with these bumblers.

Ceroill said...

Believe it or not, I still agree completely. Attacking Iraq, and the resulting increase in tensions and chaos gives a handy pretext for permanent war footing, which itself is an excellent pretext for boosting the pres's powers. What I began to wonder as time went on,and Bushie kept pushing the bounds of 'executive priviledge' and whatnot was whether it had seriously occurred to these wackos that the president to follow, almost certainly of the 'opposing' party, would also have said powers.

coreydbarbarian said...

friend bob, i don't believe the neocons ever planned on losing the oval office post-dubya. with their k street operations and whatnot, i just got that impression.

and, lest we give dick & dubya (and rummy) all the credit, we should prolly recognize the military-industrial-congressional complex. w/o them, wars like iraq wouldn't seem quite so significant.

have you guys seen the film "why we fight"?

Ceroill said...

Corey, you may have something there. The whole dynasty thing. Which is even more depressing.But you may be right. It could well be that this group is the sort that truly believes that the way they think and believe is the way 'everyone' does. So of course the neocon ideal will become the 'way of the land'.

coreydbarbarian said...

i've been watching "bush's war", per bawdy's recommendation. amazing how the "fog of war" clears after five years, and the whole shebang looks completely different. damn neocons!

anyways, here's the link.
thanks bawdy!



The pretext for a permanent war footing can be chocked up in three little words, "War on Terror".


The dynasty thing, could this be the reason Clinton just won't give up?

Ceroill said...

Bawdy, yep, exactly. With a foe so nebulous we have to be permanently on a war footing in a battle that can never end.
Oh, but we have to have tax cuts, and other strangeness, and send the budget into the crapper.

And then when the credit debt based economy we've been running under for the last 40 years collapses under it's own absurdity (well, there was some acceleration in recent years), the big creditors get bailed out, but the guys who got scammed? No way! As always the little guy is on his own.