From "Mission Accomplished" to Mission Impossible. Deception meets incompetence: A deadly combination!
It has already lasted longer than World War 2, five years today and counting. This week in 2003, president Bush gave an ultimatum to Saddam and promptly invaded Iraq. By doing so, he misused the opportunity of the century to unite the world against terrorism after 9-11, and make the US a leader and a defender of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights! Mr. Bush made the US & the world less safe; he gave more power to the extremists in the Middle East, and surrendered the moral high ground.
We've lost at least 4,000 soldiers according to the official count, but this includes only the combat deaths in the battlefield. Those killed in accidents, diseases, suicides, or died in hospitals weeks later, are not part of this count. We also have at least 30,000 injured, many so severely that they'll always be dependent on others & long-term medical care. Of course, the numbers climb to hundreds of thousands if we include non-Americans! [do they count?...]
The monetary cost estimates vary. The Iraq War Counter here shows the actual expenditures so far. It does not include long-term health care for the 30,000 plus injured veterans, or the interest on the borrowed money [you knew we didn't have the money for this war, didn't ya?], or the wear/tear/replacement of military equipment, or the Pentagon's annual budget of $500 billion, and the $500,000 paid to the families of those killed in action. It doesn't include the indirect taxes & costs Americans are paying because of the skyrocketing of the price of oil.
The estimated cost per month in 2008 is $12.5 billion. Don't listen to those neocons that say this money is pumped back to our economy. Yes, it's our government doing the spending [talking about welfare for big corporations, some of which don't pay any taxes], but it's about priorities for the stuff we need--spending to benefit the commonwealth! As an example, for the projected costs in 2009, this money is enough [more than enough if we actually reform the health care system] to pay for the health care of 41 million Americans!
Or, New Yorkers will be responsible for $12.5 billion [not including the future costs as described above] in 2009. With this money we could do some of the following:
- 2,306,150 People with Health Care, or
- 2,040,679 Scholarships for University Students, or
- New Elementary Schools, or
- 4,369,925 Children with Health Care, or
- 144,842 Elementary School Teachers
- 7,545,445 People with Health Care, or
- 2,153 New Elementary Schools, or
- 14,297,868 Children with Health Care, or
- 2,153 New Elementary Schools, or
- 6,676,857 Scholarships for University Students
When our country must sacrifice, our leaders should do their best to see that this burden is widely shared not based on the shoulders of the least privileged, nor should war be one of choice and an opportunity for a transfer of wealth. Patriotism shouldn't be defined by long & hyperbolic speeches but rather by doing what's best for the commonwealth.
Patriotism is standing up for the truth, and questioning our government. Patriotism is to defend those conditions and civil liberties that have made our country great--not by becoming more like our enemies! Patriotism is to go to war on a necessity (not on a choice based on deception & lies) and when doing so to give our soldiers what they need to accomplish their mission!
Lastly, we have to be honest among those of us who oppose the Iraq war. We are against it because it was a very bad mistake from the beginning, not just because this administration is criminally incompetent. The disaster that ensued is obviously another important reason to end this war, but unless we look ourselves in the mirror and examine the causes that led us into this incredibly costly expedition, we will repeat such a horrible mistake again.
Iraq Memorial on line (iraqmemorial.org) Family testimonies on the human costs of the war.
The architects of the War--Where are they now? Good question..
Faces of the Fallen. See our dead soldiers' faces, names and brief bios.