Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Will the War Counter Hit $500 Billion Today?

Here's a screen capture of "The War in Iraq Costs" at National Priorities Project frozen at 7:45am on March 4, 2008. Less than five years after the invasion of Iraq, the cost of the war (not including, of course, the immeasurable human cost) will hit half-a-trillion dollars:
You can check the current cost by looking at the sidebar to your right, where I've been running this counter since this blog's birth in 2004, or by going to nationalpriorities.org, where you will find depressing comparisons of what could have been provided to the American people with those discarded dollars (like health care for 135 million people, scholarships for 70 million college students, or almost 10 million public safety officers).
As soon as I posted this, I drifted over to the Times, where I see that Bob Herbert published a piece this morning called the "The $2 Trillion Nightmare" about how the national debt will increase by that amount just because of George Bush's war of choice, and that the overall costs will be more like $3 trillion, or six times the milestone (or is that millstone?) being achieved today.
UPDATE 10:55am: The Huffington Post email I received this morning was headlined with Arianna Huffington's piece, "The $3,000,000,000,000 War is a Domestic Issue". This is obviously the issue of the day (but I hope not just an issue for today):

So will John McCain be called to account for the surge, and the rising costs of the continuing occupation the surge has enabled? Not likely. Getting the media to avoid a full accounting of the costs of the war -- both in terms of dollars spent and lives lost or ruined -- was one of the primary goals of the surge. And, in that respect, it has been sadly successful.

The thing about $3,000,000,000,000 is that, at a certain point, it becomes hard to ignore. As the red ink from the approaching recession continues to spill, you can bet the media will be all over the story -- the economy headlined as America's top domestic worry. The question is, will the media connect the dots between the war John McCain loves so much and the economic devastation it's helped cause? The answer could determine who is the next president of the United States.


UPDATE 4:33pm: Or maybe $3,000,000,000,000 is a conservative estimate. Here's an Aida Edemariam article, "The True Cost of War," and a relevant Steve Bell cartoon, "The Six Trillion Dollar Chimp," from The Guardian.

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