Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 8, 2009


Joseph Stiglitz & Linda J. Bilmes, Capital Times - The death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan reached 5,000 in June. An additional 80,000 Americans have been wounded or injured since the war in Iraq began. More than 300,000 of our troops have required medical treatment, and Army statistics show that more than 17 percent of our returning soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, even though most of the population has long told pollsters they can't wait for U.S. forces to leave, U.S. officials have said we are likely to station 50,000 troops at military bases in the country for the foreseeable future. . .

Moreover, the U.S. barely has begun to face the enormous financial bill for the war. By our accounting, the U.S. has already spent $1 trillion on operations and related defense spending, with more to come - and it will cost perhaps $2 trillion more to repay the war debt, replenish military equipment and provide care and treatment for U.S. veterans back home. . .

This wartime spending undoubtedly has been a major contributor to our present economic collapse. The U.S. has waged an expensive war as if it required little or no economic sacrifice, funding the conflict by massive borrowing. As we've observed in the past, you can't spend $3 trillion on a reckless foreign war and not feel the pain at home.

Burned by the difficulties in Iraq, our political leaders have no illusions about the length and difficulty of the challenge facing us in Afghanistan. But in other respects we seem set to repeat the same mistakes that we made in Iraq. The president has just signed yet another "emergency" supplemental appropriations measure ($80 billion) to fund continuing operations in Iraq and expansion into Afghanistan. This means that for the 30th time since 2001, war spending has been rushed through the budget process without serious scrutiny.


Anonymous War is a racket said...

Did Donald Runsfeld ever find the 2.3 trillion dollars he announced on September 10th, 2001 the pentagon couldn't account for?

Yah...a few trillion here and a few trillion there for the weapons-makers-and-hawkers, and add even bigger trillions paid to the banksters for committing fraud and perpetrating theft so big it wiped out the economy...and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

It ain't cheap keeping down and out the good-sense egalitarian ideas that bring peace, prosperity, safety, and happiness.

Going to war is an act of cowardice and an admission that people will reject your ideas. People use force when they know their ideas are badly reasoned or lack reasoning altogether and therefore won't be adopted if explained.

When will we grow bold and brave and smart enough to reject war altogether??

July 9, 2009 11:33 AM  

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