By Robert Scheer
Nov. 22, 2007
What can you get for a trillion bucks? Or make that $1.6 trillion, if you take the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as tallied by the majority staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC). Or is it the $3.5-trillion figure cited by Ron Paul, whose concern about the true cost of this war for ordinary Americans shames the leading Democrats, who prattle on about needed domestic programs that will never find funding because of future war-related government debt?
Given that the overall defense budget is now double what it was when President Bush’s father presided over the end of the cold war–even though we don’t have a militarily sophisticated enemy in sight–you have to wonder how this president has managed to exceed cold war spending levels. What has he gotten for the trillions wasted? Nothing, when it comes to capturing Osama bin Laden, bringing democracy to Iraq or preventing oil prices from tripling and enriching the ayatollahs of Iran while messing up the American economy.
That money could have paid for a lot of things we could have used here at home. As Rep. Paul points out, for what the Iraq war costs, we could present each family of four a check for $46,000–which exceeds the $43,000 median household income in his Texas district. He asks: “What about the impact of those costs on education, the very thing that so often helps to increase earnings? Forty-six thousand dollars would cover 90 percent of the tuition costs to attend a four-year public university in Texas for both children in that family of four. But, instead of sending kids to college, too often we’re sending them to Iraq, where the best news in a long time is they [the insurgents] aren’t killing our men and women as fast as they were last month.”
via The Nation