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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What a deal, eh?

We had an election in 2006.

After years of Bush talking about the Iraqis standing up and us standing down. After General Casey talking about the training programs for the Iraqi military that didn't work. The American people decide they'd had enough of Bush and his rubber stamp GOP Congress. We pulled the plug.

The Democrats won both Houses of Congress.

The very next day Bush fired Rumsfeld and turned the command of Iraq over to General Pertraeus whose plan means, almost four years into the occupation of Iraq, that instead of having the Iraqis secure their country for themselves, that the American taxpayers will fund a "surge" and have American troops do that job. Bush asks for and receives from Congress hundreds of billions of dollars from the Democrats and tens of thousands of more troops.

Where General Casey equivocated and talked about progress in training Iraqis, General Pertaeus now fudges the numbers and asks the American taxpayers to give him $200 Billion and "six more months" of surge having our troops in Iraq to try to do a job the Iraqis are supposed to be able to do for themselves.

What a deal, eh?

George Bush couldn't train the Iraqis to defend their country, so now he wants the American taxpayers to spend our dollars and our soldier's lives to continue to do that job for them. It's a familiar refrian...six more months after six more months after six more months. Hundreds and hundreds more dead American soldiers (the total will rise to 4,000 soon.) and 28,000 wounded. And that's not counting the rampant incidence of PTSD.

That's over 30,000 American families whose lives are irretrievably touched by this war in Iraq and hundreds of thousands more who are caught up in this never ending cycle of tours of duty in Iraq.

For what? What national interest does it serve for our forces to try to keep the peace in Iraq? How many more times are Generals going to talk optimistically about some future point...always supposedly just months from now...when our soldiers will be reunited with their families?

It wasn't about WMD. It wasn't about Osama bin Laden. Was it about oil? Are we allowed to ask that question? (Not a word about energy conservation from the President by the way. Global warming is melting the ice caps and Bush doesn't even talk about it.)

What a deal for George W. Bush!

Lose an election and yet we still send tens of thousands more troops to Iraq to do a job that the Iraqis can't or won't do for themselves. We fund Bush's policy in Iraq for another two years. After Colin Powell and Tommy Franks and John Abizaid and Donald Rumsfeld and John Casey presided over the debacle in Iraq, after their misleading testimony before our nation time and again...we are supposed to take what General Petraeus says at face value!

If you ask me, the President should be under impeachment procedings for his conduct of this war and the way he misled this nation into Iraq on false pretenses.

Instead, Bush has got a free ride.

In 2003 he asked for $87 Billion and it was a big deal.
In 2007 he's asking for $200 Billion and nobody blinks.

What suckers we are if we give it to him.

Don't look at what the Generals say. They're just repeating the lines that they've been coached to say from the White House...exactly like Colin Powell did before the United Nations. Look at what George Bush does.

Actions speak louder than words. They've been talking about a "draw down" of troops for years. What have they done?

Ask yourself...do you think we are "making progress" in Iraq? Is that what goes through your mind when you hear about car bombs that kill hundreds of people? Is that what you think when you see the pictures? Do you remember what Iraq looked like before we invaded it?

We had an election in 2006. The American voters pulled the plug on the GOP majorities in Congress. But that didn't stop George Bush from vetoing a bill that would have started our troops coming home and given the Iraqis the message that we were leaving. That didn't stop the GOP from filibustering a bill that would have simply set a timeline.

If your hopes of an exit rise when you hear General Petraeus talk about draw downs on the horizon in Iraq...just like General Casey did two long years ago...I have news for you. We're not leaving. Not with George Bush in office and the GOP, even in the minority, voting in lock step to keep his policies in force. Apparently some folks still think this war was a good idea. You won't hear me saying so.

We're running up on half a trillion dollars on this war. All of it paid for off the books...as in, we'll pay for it later.

That's over $1,600 of debt for every single United States citizen, or $4,500 for each household in America. That has to get paid for somehow.

And for what? What national purpose did it serve? Did the war in Iraq make us safer? Did it advance the interests of our nation?

Has it been worth losing the lives of 4,000 of our fellow Americans?



  • How do you figure $16,000 in debt KO? If it's 500 billion (half a trillion) divided by 250 million, I think that would be $2000.

    I'm sure that I might have made a mistake in my calculations here, and that your figure could be the more accurate one. The money question in Iraq has long been almost brain-twistingly complicated it seems to me. First of all, the figures themselves are so high that it's actually hard to calculate with them. (Most Americans are not prepared to fully recognize the difference between millions and billions in large equations, exactly what happens all the time in Iraq). And then there are the questions of what frame of reference do you use:

    1. This one -- how much, per person, for the war.(1a: sometimes done in terms of time -- so much money each day, or each hour, etc.).
    2. Compare to other government programs -- i.e. how could social security be shored up with half of the $500 billion. Or bridges repaired. Or drugs cheaper for senior citizens.
    3. Compare as a percentage of government spending overall (can't recall what kind of a percentage this is right now, another sign of my own numerical illiteracy since, really, we should all KNOW this, at the tip of our fingerprints).
    4. Compare it to overall economy as a whole, where it might play differently than other wars (although again it's now hard to remember) -- my sense was we were paying huge amounts more per soldier than in vietnam, but i also remember reading about each of the wars as a percentage drain on (or alternatively contribution to) the national economy and can't remember.

    Waste is incalculable. Much of the war is incalculable. You pointed out long ago that the $70 billion dollars were functioning as a campaign fund for Bush's reelection , more or less, and this remains another key dimension to all of this. What and how is this money -- such massive, almost unthinkable sums of money -- being spent for. It's still tied up in electoral politics and cycles. In different ways. It is the exact opposite, it seems of how World War 2 was funded in many ways (although of course WW 2 entailed such a greater percentage of the economy that it might be a moot point). But Bush got his hand on a very fancy cookie jar in a big way, and has just had millions and hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to spend, creating new machines; new forms of citizen-soldiers (contractors); huge boondaggles of giving away cash and ultimately power and arms to competing iraqi factions and interest groups; new ways to publicize and organize this; to create well guarded zones and bubbles of safety in Iraq (green zone number one); fantastic national-state security apparatus Buildings, where men like Negroponte -- now gone -- would rool the roost (and which, I'm sure, normal Iraqi's would regard much like the characters in 1984 regard the Ministries of Truth, Peace, and particularly Love. And all of private mercenaries and humanitarian relief and state of the art bombing and economic aid twined into the non-stop partisan political campaign, attack the democrats, sell the war, manipulate the press, solidify republican unity and power. To put us on a permanent, and partisan, war-footing.

    By Anonymous awol, at 4:05 AM  

  • Thanks for the correction...I've changed the post.

    You are so right, it is very hard to calculate what $500,000,000,000 means.

    My numbers were meant to be conversational...but the corrected estimate is:

    $500,000,000,000 / 300,000,000 US Citizens = $1,666 per citizen.

    $500,000,000,000 / 110,000,000 US Households = +$4,500 per household.

    The total Federal Budget for 2007 =


    The total Federal Receipts for 2007 =


    $500,000,000,000 is a significant chunk of one year's total receipts of the U.S. Government.

    Imo, $4,500 per household is a TON of money, especially when we are not paying it as we go.

    Your points are very well taken. It's hard to find a calculator that prints out results that large without using formulas.

    Here's one that works, wish I'd had it last night.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 11:50 AM  

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