Monday, May 26, 2008

Is the price worth it?

Was getting rid of Saddam Hussein worth it? I mean, Saddam was a brutal dictator. He murdered millions of Iraqi people. But he didn't hurt Americans, or even threaten to hurt us. Other dictators murdered millions of his own countrymen, and those dictators are friends of the U.S.A. So was getting rid of Saddam worth the price?

In 2003, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said that invading Iraq in order to get rid of Saddam wouldn't cost that much. Among other terrible things in order to scare the people to attacking Iraq (WMD the most prominent), they said the Iraqi people could bear the brunt of this war.

That isn't so. After a year or so, it was obvious that either the Iraqis wouldn't handle the load, or they was too broke to do so.

Bush and Cheney also said Iraqi oil will pay for the majority.

But that isn't so either. According to an article in the Washington Post, Iraqi oil production went down after the invasion than before. Part of the reason for this is that Iraqi insurgents are skimming large portions of the oil profits to fund the insurgency, with bribes playing a major role in the operation.

In the mean time, it wasn't the "surge" that caused the casualty levels of U.S. troops to go down. It was the American officers bribing the Iraqi insurgency to switch sides and fight al-Qaeda. Better to pay Iraqis to fight al-Qaeda than to fight them yourselves! But those bribes are costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, and obviously must go on indefinitely since everyone knows what will happen if the bribes stop.

So, what’s the cost of getting rid of Saddam Hussein?

For one, there are over 4,000 dead American soldiers since the war began. But those deaths are worth it, right?

And there is an estimated one million dead Iraqis in that time. But, according to retired general Tommy Franks, "We don't do [Iraqi] body counts." So those deaths are definitely worth it.

What about the over 30,000 injured, maimed, and disabled U.S. soldiers, and countless of Iraqis. Is the price worth it?

There is also the total destruction of Iraq and the millions of Iraqis who have had to flee the country. By and large, Americans feel that that cost has been worth it.

And now, the Federal Reserve, in obvious panic over the state of the financial markets, was working overtime to come up with a bailout plan for Bear Stearns, also using the opportunity to lower interest rates again rather than simply wait until its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

A Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who has co-authored a book with Linda Bilmes, former assistant secretary of commerce, entitled The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. According to them, the U.S. government has spent $600 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As when Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure, and as the dollar continues to crash in international markets, at least Saddam Hussein is dead.

Is the price worth it?


At 5:52 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Puts some perspictive on just how really small fifty,000 really is, when you start seeking at it in comparision to published works already out there.


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