Friday, January 19, 2007

The costs of war

Writing in the New York Times, David Leonhardt offers an excellent analysis of the financial cost of Bush’s Iraq War. The original estimate was that it would cost US$50 billion (one White House official estimated US$200 billion, but was fired for saying so). The current estimate is that Bush’s war will end up costing at least US$1.2 trillion, or roughly US$200 billion per year.

The article helpfully provides suggestions on what that money could buy:

For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

So, as if all the lives senselessly wasted on Bush’s disaster weren’t enough, we now see what else the US has been denied at home. Can Congress now exert some control over that man? If so, will it do so?


lost in france said...

Incredible. I am speechless at the thought of the waste.

Evil European said...

Yeah, but all this talk about health care, New Orleans, Darfur, education....it only benefits normal people...not Boeing, Lockheed, Haliburton, Rayethorn, General Dynamics....after all, THEY are the ones who REALLY need the money, right?