06 February 2007

The real cost of the Iraq war

The Pentagon originally estimated the cost of the Iraq war would be $50-billion. Presidential economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey claimed it would be $200-billion. Bush fired him for his impudence. So far it is over $500-billion and is projected to top the cost of the Vietnam war - about $614-billion at today's prices.

But the real cost to Americans is measured in more than dollars, even U.S. dollars. The New York Times estimates with just half the money spent on the war the U.S. could have provided universal health care for its people, offered nursery education for all the country's three and four-year-olds, and immunized the world's children against a host of diseases. In his latest proposed budget, President Bush has further cut programs designed for the elderly and the poor while increasing defence spending by 11.3 per cent.

The Bush administration has talked tirelessly about the need of the war to protect Americans. Yet American innocents, particularly the sick, the old, and children, are increasingly put at risk. Some protection.

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