Government and Money

There have been estimates that the War in Iraq will cost the US as much as $200 billion. USA Today mentions that post-war costs could be as much as $600 billion. The government could run annual deficits of as much as $500 billion. The national debt is nearing $8 trillion. Can you imagine how much money that is? I can’t. Bill Gates might even have a problem with numbers this size.

Naturally, we may not spend that much money on the war. According to one web site, the current cost is much lower (in the neighborhood of $70 billion at this writing). Interestingly, this site also offers a comparison to other potential investments that could be made if this wasn’t happening. It’s pretty cool. I’ve long thought that investing $200 billion in, say, lower Manhattan, would do a heck of a lot more good for our country than it would to spend that money in fighting Iraq.

Why? It’s not even a fight. As of earlier yesterday, the US has had 268 soldier casualties, according to one source (boston.com, link removed). The same site mentions that the British Government has announced 45. Another site tells us similar numbers – but also mentions that only 65% of those deaths were in combat! Meanwhile, at least one site counts between six and eight thousand civilian deaths in Iraq. As many as twenty thousand civilians may have been wounded. I can’t even find information on Iraqi soldiers killed in combat.

Listen, I am not arguing for more US casualties. I’m just saying that this seems a little ludicrous. Just how large a military do we need before government is happy with it? Isn’t there enough evidence that our current government doesn’t seem to understand the responsibility that comes with the power we have available to us? Spidey gets it – why can’t Dubya?

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