Guest Column: Iraq Study Report points out spiraling costs of war

I have just completed reading the Iraq Study Report. I have read it, not studied it, but I have come up with some thoughts.

After a nine-month study of an almost four-year conflict, the commission warns, we are spending a lot of money, $2 billion a week, killing and being killed, and not winning.

Little is mentioned of the tremendous loss of Iraqi lives, and it seems as though the report is attempting to blame the Iraqi people for the current state of chaos. We broke it and now wonder why they cannot fix it.

According to my math, if the expenditure of $2 billion per week was allocated equally to each of the 50 states, Illinois residents are paying $40 million per week in Iraq, or $208 million per year, in a losing effort.

Please remind me, what is the mission?

The report talks of embedding our military in the Iraqi military as advisers and accelerating our Foreign Military Sales requests. Does this not mean our military will be involved forever in the country’s civil war? Wall Street will be booming, driven by military sales to Iraq funded with U.S. working citizens’ tax dollars.

“Recommendation 49. The administration in full consultation with relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed investments in procurement and in research and development, and the budget of other U.S. government agencies involved in the stability and reconstruction efforts.”

“Recommendation 72. Costs of the war in Iraq should be included in the President’s annual budget request, starting in FY 2008.”

After we arrive at this actual cost of war, the issue will be, who is actually going to be responsible for the cost? What socially important programs will have to be reduced or eliminated to pay the bills? Based on the most recent history, it will be the average hourly worker, the farmers and all the other citizens who are currently supporting the cost who will be asked, no, told, they must now sacrifice still further.

Richard Kanak is a resident of Cherry Valley, Ill.

From the Dec. 20-26, 2006, issue

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