Inside the mind of America’s (raunchy, foul mouthed, overly opinionated, sexually aggressive, incredibly offensive, fly by the minute, ridiculously absurd, often times erratic, psychologically questionable) Sweetheart.

How to save the world February 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — the108 @ 10:57 pm

How the Iraq war’s $2 trillion cost to U.S. could have been spent :

In war, things are rarely what they seem.

Back in 2003, in the days leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon adamantly insisted that the war would be a relatively cheap one. Roughly $50 billion is all it would take to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, it said.

We now know this turned out to be the first of many miscalculations. Approaching its fifth year, the war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers nearly $500 billion, according to the non-partisan U.S.-based research group National Priorities Project. That number is growing every day.

But it’s still not even close to the true cost of the war. As the invasion’s price tag balloons, economists and analysts are examining the entire financial burden of the Iraq campaign, including indirect expenses that Americans will be paying long after the troops come home. What they’ve come up with is staggering. Calculations by Harvard’s Linda Bilmes and Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz remain most prominent. They determined that, once you factor in things like medical costs for injured troops, higher oil prices and replenishing the military, the war will cost America upwards of $2 trillion. That doesn’t include any of the costs incurred by Iraq, or America’s coalition partners.

“Would the American people have had a different attitude toward going to war had they known the total cost?” Bilmes and Stiglitz ask in their report. “We might have conducted the war in a manner different from the way we did.”

It’s hard to comprehend just how much money $2 trillion is. Even Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, would marvel at this amount. But, once you begin to look at what that money could buy, the worldwide impact of fighting this largely unpopular war becomes clear.

Consider that, according to sources like Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs, the Worldwatch Institute, and the United Nations, with that same money the world could:

Eliminate extreme poverty around the world (cost $135 billion in the first year, rising to $195 billion by 2015.)

Achieve universal literacy (cost $5 billion a year.)

Immunize every child in the world against deadly diseases (cost $1.3 billion a year.)

Ensure developing countries have enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic (cost $15 billion per year.)

In other words, for a cost of $156.3 billion this year alone – less than a tenth of the total Iraq war budget – we could lift entire countries out of poverty, teach every person in the world to read and write, significantly reduce child mortality, while making huge leaps in the battle against AIDS, saving millions of lives.

Then the remaining money could be put toward the $40 billion to $60 billion annually that the World Bank says is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, established by world leaders in 2000, to tackle everything from gender inequality to environmental sustainability.

The implications of this cannot be underestimated. It means that a better and more just world is far from within reach, if we are willing to shift our priorities.

If America and other nations were to spend as much on peace as they do on war, that would help root out the poverty, hopelessness and anti-Western sentiment that can fuel terrorism – exactly what the Iraq war was supposed to do.

So as candidates spend much of this year vying to be the next U.S. president, what better way to repair its image abroad, tarnished by years of war, than by becoming a leader in global development? It may be too late to turn back the clock to the past and rethink going to war, but it’s not too late for the U.S. and other developed countries to invest in the future.

***Craig and Marc Kielburger are children’s rights activists and co-founded Free The Children, which is active in the developing world. Online: Craig and Marc Kielburger discuss global issues every Monday in the World & Comment section. Take part in the discussion online at***


10 Responses to “How to save the world”

  1. The109 Says:

    Thank you for bringing this up. So many of us struggle just to make ends meet every day. Our society works so hard to just feed and shelter ourselfs and our families that we fail to realize what is really happening. Jesus said that is if one among us is suffering then we are all the lesser for it, but ironically it is the religious right that is so adamant about continuing this insane occupation of Iraq.

  2. Metalmom Says:

    End poverty and illiteracy? All over the WORLD? That is fuckalot of money! When it is put into terms like that the cost of war is obscene!

    Why are people bitching about Jane Fonda saying “cunt”? They should be screaming about this expenditure!!

  3. the108 Says:

    DEAN-O: Spoken like a true intellectual.

    MM: No shit, right??? It’s disturbing how people laugh at the idea of fixing what is wrong in the world but then don’t bat an eye when they cheer our government on during war. It’s sick.

  4. Matt-Man Says:

    I would have settled for a government funded BLT. I love a good BLT. Cheers!!

  5. Mr. Fabulous Says:

    When you get all passionate and political like this it makes me want to take your pants off and love you.

  6. Bond Says:

    I would love to see more domestic programs discussed when thinking about the money being wasted on this war…Yes, it would be great to end WORLD poverty and illiteracy…as long as that includes ending those things here at home first…and working on the infrastructure here at home which is crumbling.

    Excellent post Kyra…

  7. The Absurdist Says:

    Did you know, also, that the government hires trained contract killers that are not in the military, and pays them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year? These costs are also not factored into the true cost of the war.

    Our government has done this in every “conflict” that we have been in since the Korean war.

  8. Brian in Mpls Says:

    America deserves to be robbed…its apathy is unexcusable.

  9. the108 Says:

    MATT-MAN: There’s nothing like a BLT. Oh, except for World Peace 🙂

    MR. FABULOUS: I want to hope all over you.

    BOND: And it could be done if our money was spent on it instead of dropping bombs!

    ABSURDIST: And it baffles me that we have not found bin Laden…

    BRIAN: And we wonder why people hate us….

  10. MARFSBABY Says:

    Love it! That’s TWO meme invites I’ve received in one week – I’m a popular girl this week… and not just under the table in the lunchroom at work.

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