Today is the fifth anniversary of Bush’s war in Iraq. An undertaking that was sold to the public with lies about the supposed threat Saddam posed to the rest of the world—because of a supposed stockpile of biological and chemical weapons—and with promises that the war would be quick, easy, and cheap. How many of you remember that at the start of the war the Bush administration predicted that the whole shebang would likely cost $50 billion to $60 billion total?
Yeah, that wasn’t even in the ballpark:
WASHINGTON — At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.
Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.
That $4 trillion estimate by Stiglitz? That’s what he considers a conservative estimate so the actual cost will likely be much higher. If ever there was a good argument not to vote for John McCain come November the above, combined with the fact that McCain has indicated he would continue on the same course as President Bush with regards to Iraq, is one of the best.
Imagine what we could have done with that kind of money back here at home. Hillary Clinton as thought about it:
On the campaign trail, the Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, often say that money for the war would be better spent at home, as Mrs. Clinton did Tuesday when she pegged the war costs at “well over $1 trillion.”
“That is enough,” she continued, “to provide health care for all 47 million uninsured Americans and quality pre-kindergarten for every American child, solve the housing crisis once and for all, make college affordable for every American student and provide tax relief to tens of millions of middle-class families.”
Whenever universal health care is brought up the Republicans whine about how much it’ll cost and how we can’t afford it yet there seems to be no limits on available cash when they need to pull money out for the Iraq war. This just shows they don’t give a shit about the average American. They’re more than happy to run up a record national debt so long as the money isn’t used to help anyone other than their defense contractor friends. Fuck you assholes that are dieing of easily curable diseases simply because you can’t afford health care, they’re not going to run up a huge debt just so you can see a doctor. That’s just silly!
Want a good laugh? Remember Lawrence B. Lindsey? No? He was President Bush’s first economic adviser until he had the audacity to publicly state back at the start of the war that he though the initial cost estimates were too low. He predicted the war would cost between $100 billion to $200 billion and that got his ass fired because the administration thought he was just crazy stupid to think it would ever cost that much money. He’s got a new I-told-you-so book coming out:
“Five years after the fact, I believe that one of the reasons the administration’s efforts are so unpopular is that they chose not to engage in an open public discussion of what the consequences of the war might be, including its economic cost,” Mr. Lindsey wrote in an excerpt in Fortune magazine.
Mr. Lindsey insists that his projections were partly right. “My hypothetical estimate got the annual cost about right,” he wrote. “But I misjudged an important factor: how long we would be involved.”
Above and beyond the issue of money though is the fact that it’s cost the lives of 4,000 U.S. military personnel along with arguably countless Iraqi lives for no good reason. As bad as things were under Saddam at least they had running water, working electricity, and relatively safe neighborhoods. Iraqi women were allowed to drive and hold jobs and wear jeans, something that is increasingly rare in Iraq today as the Islamic fundamentalists exert control through their militias.
Meanwhile President Bush is still reporting in from La La Land where his fevered delusions continue to hide reality from him. In a speech today marking the fifth anniversary he defended his war:
“The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated,” Bush said.
But, he added, before an audience of Pentagon brass, soldiers and diplomats: “The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory.”
The war isn’t noble, wasn’t necessary, and is far from just and no matter how many times you claim it is, Mr. President, that won’t change the reality of the situation.
Bush isn’t alone in his delusions. Vice President Cheney continues to insist not only that the war was necessary and a success, but that he doesn’t give a fuck if you don’t like it:
CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.
RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.
The surge hasn’t worked. The stated goal of the surge was to give the Iraqi government some breathing room so they could work on reconciliation and laying the ground work for power sharing among the factions. They have yet to do so and troops are being drawn down to pre-surge levels. Based on the stated goal of the surge it is a failure. Signs are that the reduction in violence, and it’s arguable whether or not the surge had anything to do with that reduction, are starting to fade as of late.
So here we are five years later on the verge or possibly already within a recession at home, a subprime mortgage mess not helping the situation any, an ongoing war that has yet to bring any of the promised liberty, stability, and democracy to Iraq, and a President who still refuses to own up to what a colossal fuck up he is. Happy Anniversary America!