Thursday, May 17, 2007

What the war in Iraq costs us each second

How much money are we dumping in the Iraq War...conflict...civil support insertion...what the hell is it really anyway? Anywho, I'm sure you might hear all kinds of things about spending bills, and how Dubya vetoes them saying that he's not going to enforce an artificial timeline, but when it comes down to it, do you know how much it's costing us as a nation or you as a member of your city?

Well, the folks at the National Priorities Project have put together something that helps you visualize how much the war costs, and at what rate the money is being spent. You can also see the national cost ticker in the upper right hand of this blog. If you visit this site, which is part of the NPP, you can dynamically see how the cost affects your state, and your closest city. You also have the option of seeing how the money that we're spending on the conflict could have been used to resolve huge national concerns like children's health, public education, college scholarships, and public housing. There's also some features that allow you to calculate how war costs trade-offs directly impact your congressional district. Think the war is far away?'s being fought out of your back pocket right now...that second of time involved the cost of about $1,667 of national taxpayer money that was just thrown on the pyre.

Even if you're a die-hard neo-con you're going to wince at the money we're wasting. That is unless you have holdings in an industry that supports military efforts in Iraq.

If the money doesn't bother you, then think about what Mark said in his recent piece, "Oh Right, We're Still At War":

Me, I like to imagine the babies. I like to imagine all the children born back in 2003 (or 2001, if you count the equally failed Afghan campaign), the Year of Brutal Idiocy, the Year It All Went Wrong, the Year America Jumped the Shark.

All these children born at the war's beginning are well over 4 years old now. They are walking, talking, speaking in complete sentences with more complexity and coherence than the president himself. And for their entire lives, America has been at war. They have never known a day where we have been at peace, where we haven't lived under this bitter cloud of rampant incompetence, violence, a deep sadness, a sense that something has gone very, very wrong with the American idea, and no one really has any clue how to fix it. How will they be affected? What sort of perception of a broken, lost America will they have drilled into their baffled little bones?

Which leaves us right here, in this murky no-man's-land of vague dis-ease, this foul, anesthetized place where our brutal-war-that-isn't-really-a-war has become the norm, a time when it feels like we as a country should be getting stronger and should be leading the world in everything from peacekeeping to environmentalism to medicine to technology, and yet we have this giant, bloodstained monkey on our backs, violent and ugly and still shockingly strong, and he is laughing, cackling at our feeble attempts to shake ourselves free, even as he eats at our soul.
Makes me think of what was going on in Afghanistan when I was a kid back in the 80s. Doesn't seem like much has changed. I think it's time to start focusing on rebuilding alliances, acknowledging mistakes, and moving forward. So far it seems like we've been in a circling pattern waiting exit plan that takes us through Iran?

Can we stop the trajectory in which we're currently, seemingly locked? 2008 baby. Let your voice and vote do the talking.

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