Sunday, September 23, 2007

War isn't free

By Libby Spencer

Emboldened by the GOP's successful shootdown of any relief for our troops, Bush is about to ask for more war bucks:

The request will total nearly $200 billion to fund the war through 2008, Pentagon officials said. If it is approved, 2008 will be the most expensive year of the Iraq war.

...When costs of CIA operations and embassy expenses are added, the war in Iraq currently costs taxpayers about $12 billion a month, said Winslow T. Wheeler, a former Republican congressional budget aide who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

So where's all that money going? According to the government:

U.S. war costs have continued to grow because of the additional combat forces sent to Iraq in 2007 and because of efforts to quickly ramp up production of new technology, such as mine- resistant trucks designed to protect troops from roadside bombs. The new trucks can cost three to six times as much as armored Humvees.

The trouble with that strategy is that as we go high tech, they defeat the technology by going lower tech. How much armor do you think it would take to protect against an IED the size of a cement mixer?

A small fraction of the money goes to the men and women fighting and dying in the sand pit. Most of it is going to private corporations for no bid, cost plus contracts that carry no performance stipulations and are virtually unmonitored. So far the Pentagon can't account for $88 billion tax dollars and that's just the fraud they've been forced to admit. You know it has to be bigger.

And as we pour our blood and treasure into a failed state thousands of miles away, we have a failing state at home. It's called Michigan. For what it costs to occupy Iraq for one week, $4 billion, Michigan's budget crisis would not only be over, they would be rolling in dough. Somehow I think that would make the citizens of that state feel more secure than another week of war.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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