Sunday, 25 March 2007

The cost of "spreading democracy"

Just how much would you estimate that the invasion of Iraq is set to finally cost the US, as it stands at present? Write your guess down on a piece of paper - we'll get to it at the end.

I have to apologise here - I was going to make this comment citing a story from the New Statesman. Alas, I've misplaced my copy of the article. Never mind, it's cited online, and I'll just rip off someone else's comment. Of such things are "the new media paradigm" made, as well the wingnut side of the blogosphere know.

As for the delay in posting - I've been sorta busy. I've been reading several books (recommended - Rich Frank The Greatest Story Ever Sold), grinding very slowly through a statistics textbook for a course, and researching up on remuneration systems as a union delegate. Oh, and I start a new job (or half of a new job) tomorrow. I'll try making it up with something worthwhile - I suspect I'm going to be seeing a lot of interesting stuff in this new role. And a hell of a lot of boring stuff, too.

I've also found out that the Short Blonde Dominatrix reads this blog and Pandagon. This is a person who I love as a sister, but who is in a position to puncture completely my carefully crafted illusions towards wisdom, competence or, indeed, my supposed ability to tie my own shoes by myself. Must remember to keep her happy lest she start telling the truth about me. Chocolate...

Still got that piece of paper? Here's a bit from DailyKos on the cost, and here's the actual report in pdf form. Hey - and here's the New Statesman piece. God, I love the Intertubies.

Military operations. Reconstruction. Embassy costs. Security. Foreign aid. Death benefits. Life insurance. The value of young soldier's lives (around $6 million each in other equations). Deaths of civilian contractors. Deaths of journalists. Disability pay and medical benefits. Loss of future earning potential and productive capacity. Cost of pain and suffering. Increased recruiting costs. Loss of wages to reserves. Straining of military capability. Loss of prestige and moral high ground. Increase in the price of oil. Replacement of equipment and munitions. Transporting troops. The health costs of the wounded - ESPECIALLY given the number of head injuries in this war. Interest on debt incurred. Demobilization costs.

The first, conservative estimate, is based on troops being in until 2010. The second, more moderate, is based on the idea of a smaller presence until 2015. Both of these scenarios are used by the Congressional Budget Office.

Direct costs from taxes - $750 billion to $1,250 billion. With economic adjustments - $830 billion to $1,190 billion. OTHER macroeconomic effects to the country as a whole - $187 billion to $1,050 billion. Total, making the assumption that the occupation will be shut - $1,026 billion to $2,239 billion dollars.

Let's let that sink in a little - $1 trillion to $2.25 trillion or so.

Let's consider that another way - let us assume you were pro-war to "get rid of Saddam". Did you give over $3,000 to Iraqi opposition groups before the war? Would you have given $7,000?

Are you happy with the results now that you HAVE pledged around $3000-7,000 for each man, woman and child in the US? Are you safer? Are you more proud of your country since you spent that much to bring civil war, Abu Ghraib and a distinct lack of WMD into the media as America's legacy?

Are we having fun yet?

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