Well, a somber anniversary is upon us. Today March 19, 2008 will mark the 5th year of the Iraqi War. The war that began with shock and awe and where we were to be greeted as liberators that has broken into Civil War and then into a war where expectations are so low that the administration celebrates because the colossal death toll isn’t as horrendous as it was.
This war that has taken nearly 4,000 American lives (3,990 as of today) and has done untold damage to the credibility of the United States throught the world and has done amazing damage to Iraq and the Iraqis.
It is a war of corruption where “no-bid” contracts go to buddies of the Bush administration like Haliburton and its subsidiaries, Blackwater, and the list goes on. We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on an American Embassy in Baghdad- Why? Because we plan on being a mighty presence in the country for a very long time.
This is a war where we the year old surge was supposed to give breathing room for the Iraqis to come together and make political progress. This is something that even General Petraeus agrees is not happening as it should. But Senator McCain believes we can achieve victory and that we could be in Iraq for a century. At this point no one knows what victory means because the definition keeps changing based on what is political expedient for the war’s supporters.
This war has been the most colossal blunder that this nation has ever made. It has been an exercise in lies, manipulation, profits for companies with ties to the administration, lost lives, untold damage to military families, remarkable damage to returning vets with paltry benefits to help them. No matter what one’s feelings about this war- it is immoral not to support the returning soldiers with decent benefits and the best healthcare available. We have wasted nearly one trillion dollars on President Bush’s and his neo-con friends’ folly and our esteem in the world has been severely damaged.
In a recent article in “The Nation” by Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier wrote about the not fully recognized economic disaster caused by the war. According to the article “The Wages of Peace”, Pollin and Garrett-Pelier posit that with just the amount of the Iraq budget of 2007, $138 billion, the government could instead have provided Medicaid-level health insurance for all 45 million Americans who are uninsured. What’s more, we could have added 30,000 elementary and secondary schoolteachers and built 400 schools in which they could teach. And we could have provided basic home weatherization for about 1.6 million existing homes, reducing energy consumption in these homes by 30 percent.
But the article points out that the economic consequences of Iraq run even deeper than the squandered opportunities for vital public investments. Spending on Iraq is also a job killer. Every $1 billion spent on a combination of education, healthcare, energy conservation and infrastructure investments creates between 50 and 100 percent more jobs than the same money going to Iraq. Taking the 2007 Iraq budget of $138 billion, this means that upward of 1 million jobs were lost because the Bush Administration chose the Iraq sinkhole over public investment. I also addressed the issue of the wars cost in our treasure in an article linked below- “Not a Mistake? Worth the blood and treasure? The War in Iraq”
There is little more that I can say here that I haven’t already said in articles on this blog before. While many if not most of my articles reference the debacle in Iraq there are 21 articles that address the issue of the war directly. As my way to mark this very dark anniversary, this article links all the articles I have written over the past few years that directly address the War in Iraq.