War is Hell, But What the Hell Does it Cost?

by on March 4, 2008 · 1 comment

in Peace Movement

One Week at War in Iraq and Afghanistan for $3.5 Billion

By William D. Hartung

War is hell — deadly, dangerous, and expensive. But just how expensive is it?

In a recent interview, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz asserted that the costs of the Iraq war — budgetary, economic, and societal — could reach $5 trillion.

That’s a hard number to comprehend. Figuring out how many times $5 trillion would circle the globe (if we took it all in one dollar bills) doesn’t really help matters much, nor does estimating how many times we could paper over every square inch of Rhode Island with it. The fact that total war costs could buy six trillion donuts for volunteers to the Clinton, Obama, McCain, and Huckabee campaigns — assuming a bulk discount — is impressive in its own way, but not all that meaningful either. In fact, the Bush administration’s war costs have already moved beyond the human scale of comprehension.

But what if we were to try another tack? How about breaking those soaring trillions down into smaller pieces, into mere millions and billions? How much, for instance, does one week of George Bush’s wars cost?

Glad you asked. If we consider the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan together — which we might as well do, since we and our children and grandchildren will be paying for them together into the distant future — a conservative single-week estimate comes to $3.5 billion. Remember, that’s per week!

[For the remainder of this article, go here to TomDispatch.com]

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. He is the author of “And Weapons for All” (Harper Collins, 1994) and “How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration” (Nation Books, 2004). 

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The Iraq Moratorium March 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

Will you be roaring like a lion or making peace like a lamb in March?

It’s not a trick question, and there is no “right” answer.

Whether your plans are for a silent vigil or a loud, militant
protest, we want to hear about it.

March, which brings the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq,
and the beginning of Year Six of senseless bloodshed, will refocus
attention on the war and occupation of Iraq. Multiple actions are
planned, in Washington and in communities across the nation.

Friday, March 21, is Iraq Moratorium #7, the Third Friday of the
month. It is also the religious observance of Good Friday, which we
know may complicate matters for some. But one way to honor the Prince
of Peace is to use that day to work for peace, as many will.

Some regular Moratorium participants may be planning actions to mark
the 5th anniversary of the war on March 19, or may be traveling to
Washington to participate in events there. Some may choose to hold
the Moratorium events on the 19th rather than the 21st.

Whatever you’re planning, please take a few minutes to share it with
others by posting it on our website at .
Click on “list it here” on the front page. If you have trouble,
e-mail us and we’ll help.

Some people may be traveling for Easter, and many college students
will be on spring break. If that’s your situation, we hope you will
take the Iraq Moratorium with you, wherever you go, and do at least
one thing to express your opposition to the war. Wear a button. Talk
to your family about the war. Find an event in the community you’re
visiting. Make a donation to a peace group. But do something to mark
the day.

And please let us and others know what you’re planning by posting it
on the website. There’s synergy in sharing; our combined efforts are
more than the sum of our individual ones, and inspire each other to do

If there’s something we can do to help, please let us know that, too.

And one more thing: If you haven’t posted a report about your
February IM #6 activities on the website, it’s not too late. Use the
“Tell everyone about it” link on the front page.

Thanks for all that you do in the cause of peace.

The Iraq Moratorium

(512) 772-4557


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