Viewpiont: Iraq war outlook very dim

So how much is this war in Iraq costing us? We don’t hear much about it from the administration, and when they do say something, the numbers are not reliable.

A couple of thinktanks—Foreign Policy in Focus and the Institute for Policy Studies—have released a report titled “Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War.” As reported by the U.K.’s The Guardian, the two organizations estimate the cost to you and me and every other American family at $3,415 each.

The U.S. already has spent more than $126 billion on the Iraq invasion and occupation, which is where the family breakdown figure derives.

But the report looks at more than just the monetary costs; it also examines the human toll. By June 16, before the most recent attacks, the report says, this country had killed up to 11,317 Iraqi civilians and 6,370 Iraqi soldiers or fighters.

On our side, 952 coalition troops had perished by the same date; 853 of them were Americans. Of those, 694 were slain after George W. Bush announced major combat ended May 1 of last year. In addition to military losses, between 50 and 90 civilian contractors and missionaries and 30 journalists have been killed. Through June, 2004 U.S. military casualties amounted to 883 killed and 4,682 wounded. Since the start of hostilities in Iraq, 11,333 Iraqi civilians have been killed.

All of this is costing the Bush administration dearly. A new Gallup poll showed that for the first time, a majority of Americans—54 percent—now believe the invasion of Iraq was a major mistake. The number three weeks ago was 41 percent.

The lead writer of the report, Phyllis Bennis, commented: “We are paying this enormously high price for failure. It’s not as if we are becoming more safe. It’s not as if we are bringing peace to Iraq or democracy to the Middle East.”

The White House had no immediate comment on the report, according to the newspaper, but reiterated its determination to remain in Iraq until it has stabilized the country and brought it peace.

About the same time, the U.S. central command put 25,000 more troops on standby, anticipating an upsurge in attacks after the “handover” of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government June 29.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was unable to confirm the additional numbers of troops but, he said, the American military “definitely has plans to deal with whatever may confront us.”

Wolfowitz denies U.S. troops are facing an insurgency in Iraq. “An insurgency,” he said, “implies something that rose up afterwards. It is a continuation of the war by people who never quit.” That fact should be stenciled on every soldier’s helmet and hung as a banner in the halls of Congress.

Speaking of the Congress, they are expected to authorize another $25 billion expenditure on Iraq by the end of this year. That annual figure of $3,415 per family is enough to furnish medical insurance to more than half of the 43 million Americans who have none.

Danielle Pletka, an analyst at the neocons’ American Enterprise Institute, was irked at such comparisons, saying they are intellectually dishonest. “That’s not the way budgets work,” she said. “I don’t think health care has been robbed to pay for Iraq.”

Wake up and smell the coffee, dear; EVERYTHING has been robbed to pay for Iraq, and more is on the way.

The report quotes James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas. Galbraith said such expenditures would boost the economy short-term, but long-range problems are quite likely; among them a bigger budget and trade deficits, higher inflation, and a further spike in oil prices adding a strong drag downward.

Source: The Guardian, Iraq Body and Global

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