Skip

Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War
June 27, 2004 12:39 PM   Subscribe


 
What about the economic benefits? People complain about the cost of Iraq on one hand and about how oil prices don't include externalities such as the cost of the US military protecting US interests on the other. Clearly, if the oil prices stay down as a result of Iraq then the average US family will get some of their money back. Just calculating costs and not benefits is silly.
posted by biffa at 12:47 PM on June 27, 2004


Interesting point, biffa. If the Iraq war were a popular cause on the left, no doubt these same thinktanks would be building economic models showing the benefits of the Keynesian demand-side stimulus of war spending.

Very few groups (of any stripe) engage in this sort of intellectual honesty, however.
posted by trharlan at 12:58 PM on June 27, 2004


we had contracts for the oil anyway.... even if we didn't attack
if you go to the store to get milk, decide the store owner is evil attack the store then rebiuld it outta pocket, you dont add the factor that to got the milk too as a plus...
Thats idiotic!
posted by Elim at 12:59 PM on June 27, 2004


Unless the whole war is about profit for Halliburton and such, then its brilliant...
posted by Elim at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2004


we had contracts for the oil anyway....

I believe that Saddam had signed contracts promising Iraq's oil to companies from China, Europe, and Russia.
posted by homunculus at 1:32 PM on June 27, 2004


Plus there are all of those dead soldiers we don't have to pay anymore and chances are their widows/widowers won't use their free college tuitions. That makes it worth it - right.
posted by jmgorman at 2:25 PM on June 27, 2004


Since the Gulf War, Baghdad has made agreements with oil companies from France, Russia and China to develop Iraq’s oil fields once sanctions are lifted. These agreements are likely to be honored if Saddam Hussein stays in power. US and British companies, however, would benefit from a removal of the Iraqi president.

Hey, Your right But then the wars wasn't about oil was it?
I guess they really didn't want to sell us stuff, can't figure way we only just invaded and defeated them, seems kinda small of them to lock us out, OH WAIT we locked the others out after gulfwar II hmmmm....
posted by Elim at 2:35 PM on June 27, 2004


This is what pisses me off:
  • The bill so far: $126.1 billion
  • Additional amount to cover operations through 2004: $25 billion
  • What $151 billion could have paid for in the U.S.:
    • Housing vouchers: 23 million
    • Health care for uninsured Americans: 27 mil.
    • Salaries for elementary school teachers: 3 mil.
    • New fire engines: 678,200
    • Head Start slots: 20 million
Of course, no one would've been willing to pay for these useful things, but a sensless, destructive war that destroys lives, the economy and what little credibility the US had internationally, that's A-OK.
Makes me sick.
posted by Grod at 3:10 PM on June 27, 2004


'will cost each US family $3,415'

*checks wallet*

I'm gonna have to find an ATM. Be right back. Honest.
posted by trondant at 3:11 PM on June 27, 2004


Not if your family works for Haliburton.
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on June 27, 2004


'will cost each US family $3,415'

What a load of horseshit.

It may be unethical to lie to the American people about why we went into Iraq, but it's also unethical to lie to the American people about how much the war has cost them.
posted by BlueTrain at 3:27 PM on June 27, 2004


Just calculating costs and not benefits is silly.

The cost of it turning out to be a total failure has yet to be calculated:

Failure As An Option - Looking at the Costs if Iraq Goes Up in Smoke

So what are the strategic implications for Washington if that experiment goes up in smoke? It is something that most senior officials in the administration won't discuss. There is already talk in Washington of "Iraq syndrome," an understandable reluctance to confront the next threats to American security because the first exercise of President Bush's pre-emption policy cost so much blood and billions in treasure.

But that is only the first item on the list. In private, even some of Mr. Bush's ideological partners and political allies concede that anything short of clear success could derail the grander mission that Mr. Bush said in February 2003 was the real justification for the war - to "begin a new phase for Middle Eastern peace."

Another strategic cost is already clear: Mr. Bush's failure to find those mobile biological labs, an active nuclear program or any hard evidence of coordination between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda has made some nations leery of confronting the two other members of the "Axis of Evil,'' Iran and North Korea. In both countries the evidence of nuclear ambitions is far clearer than it ever was in Iraq. But already the Chinese are throwing the administration's intelligence failures back in Mr. Bush's face, for example, questioning some of his allegations about North Korea's suspected nuclear program.

But the biggest strategic cost of failure in Iraq - or even years of muddle, which some consider the more likely possibility - could be the loss of influence for a sole superpower that only a year ago was being described as a benevolent empire.

Edward P. Djerejian, who served as a top American diplomat throughout the Middle East for many Republican administrations, and who led a study for the Bush administration about the failures of American public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim worlds, described two possible outcomes: "The long-range picture is this: Even if Iraq looks messy and violent, if in the end there is a government that shares power with major groups in the country, the end game can be positive. But if it goes the other way, it will be viewed in history as a destabilizing event that not only didn't bring security but caused instability, and set back the key goals we said we were trying to achieve on the Arab-Israeli front, on energy security and certainly on democratizing the region."

posted by y2karl at 3:40 PM on June 27, 2004


Wonder what the cost of bitchy, whiney doomsaying is?
posted by techgnollogic at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2004


I think Biffa's point is valid to some degree. However, I do not see much of an economic benefit. Yes, more oil will likely hit the world market, and no it does not matter whether the US or other countries get the contracts as oil is a global market. Of course, our oil companies might like the profits, but nevertheless, extra capacity helps keep prices down. Any potential benefit assumes that Iraq's oil was not going to hit the market anyway. Prior to the war we were headed toward allowing more oil sales by Iraq and if we truly had a crisis I think the US could find a way to expedite the matter. Without an increase in demand we would not benefit from increased supply from Iraq as OPEC would just cut back production elsewhere to offset any increase from Iraq.

Thus, on the whole I would not count the price of oil as an economic benefit. If anything I would count it as another cost, at least in the sense of the short term oil shocks we have experienced lately. One could argue these stem from the terror acts committed in Saudi Arabia, but I do not think we would have seen these occur, at least not on this scale, without the war in Iraq inflaming radical Muslim passions.

It still would be interesting to see an analysis from some economists having access to time, money and data with which to give solid results. However, who would be motivated to do this? Bush? He won't because it would just play into the argument that the war was just about oil. Liberals? They won't do it because it doesn't support the stance that the war is wrong and expensive.
posted by caddis at 4:35 PM on June 27, 2004


Wonder what the cost of bitchy, whiney doomsaying is?

It's free - just like bitchy, whiney comments about NT Times articles.
posted by soyjoy at 4:48 PM on June 27, 2004


What's whiny about a pretty clear accounting for what this war in Iraq is actually costing? The truth is whiny? The truth is bitchy? The truth is a bitch?

Ahh, gotcha, the truth, for those that have inflicted this war and its nearly neverending parade of collateral damage is indeed a bitch.

For me, I think those numbers should be published on the front page of every newspaper in the country and around the world. Everyday for a month.

It has nothing to do with liking or disliking Bush, it has everything to do with starting a war without having any idea of how to stop it.

Oh yeah, and the massive and continued theft of reconstruction funds being embezzled, wasted or abandoned by US companies with deep and thick ties directly to the vice president. The brazenness of the corruption is only outdone by its scope. The money they are stealing and wasting is every taxpayer's dollar. This is stealing from every American.
posted by fenriq at 5:13 PM on June 27, 2004


Presumably that's $3415 pre-tax. Which means you've got to earn, oh, probably about $5000 to pay for your family's part of the war. What's that, about two months of the average salary? What fun!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:14 PM on June 27, 2004


Since the Gulf War, Baghdad has made agreements with oil companies from France, Russia and China to develop Iraq’s oil fields once sanctions are lifted. These agreements are likely to be honored if Saddam Hussein stays in power. US and British companies, however, would benefit from a removal of the Iraqi president.

Hey, Your right But then the wars wasn't about oil was it?


Right ... and the French veto of any UN resolution that would have removed Hussain wasn't about oil, right?
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:15 PM on June 27, 2004


Of course it was, Midas. So, when the French jump off a bridge, we should too, eh?

America used to be about leading the world by example. Now we've apparently sunk to the low of 'hey, they did it, so it's okay for us!'. Disgusting. Why is my country run by a bunch of people whose morals, ethics and debating abilities are on par with elementary or middle schoolers?

Furthermore, while I'm at it, even the people who propogate the kinds of fecal matter our administration spits out, as if it were gospel truth, and go all 'ra-ra America! Bravo, America!'...are tarnishing our country's name and squandering its potential. Makes me sick.

There is so much good the US could be doing with its position in the world, but instead our current political leaders are choosing to direct the country with the mindset of a child, thinking only of how long they can get away with grabbing things (money, power, etc) for themselves, and using bullying tactics and shit-poor excuses and arguments when trying to argue with those they can't push around.

And many, many people who should know better stand behind them out of fear, or blind nationalism, or just plain stupidity, and drag this whole country further down...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 5:33 PM on June 27, 2004


>'will cost each US family $3,415'

>>What a load of horseshit.


Got more than bluster to back that up?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:36 PM on June 27, 2004


Oil Giants Get UN Oil-For-Food Subpoenas

Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco have received subpoenas from a federal prosecutor regarding the U.N.-run oil-for-food program in Iraq, the two largest U.S. oil companies said on Friday.

Valero subpoenaed for records in Iraq oil-for-food program

Zut alors! Les compagnies américaines ont pris l'argent de Saddam's, aussi ? Le monde est à l'envers !
posted by y2karl at 5:39 PM on June 27, 2004


will cost each US family $3,415

Yeah ... as opposed to 9/11 which cost most American families almost nothing. What a deal! When some tinpot dictator makes all sorts of public statements calling for the death of Americans, paying for suicide bombings in Israel, and flat out (very successfully) bribes UN members, obviously years of diplomacy is the correct approach.

I mean really, crunch the numbers ... the cost benefit says that even if Hussain did manage to blow up something major in the US, or poison some small city's water supply, it would probably cost us less than $3,415 per capta. So naturally we were wrong to do this silly war.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:45 PM on June 27, 2004


Too bad the "$3415" number comes from an issue of the Left Business Observer that won't be published until 2005, so we have no idea how this number was produced or what assumptions were made in the calculation. It should be revealed in the next issue of their "more or less monthly" newsletter, of which they've published 107 issues since 1986. I'm not too excited about their math at this point, but if $3415 is amortized over 10 years (and outrageously lowballed guess), the "average US household" spend more than that each year on tobacco.

The average US household spends more in 1 year, each and every year, on vehicle purchases than it will spend for the entire "long term" cost of liberating a nation of 25 million people and ridding the world of Saddam Hussein. If $3415 is accurate, that means it cost each household around 0.000135 dollars per Iraqi.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:51 PM on June 27, 2004


Not if your family works for Haliburton.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 AM CET on June 28


I have a feeling the majority of welders, pipe fitters and machinist who work for KBR are doing the same as anyone else.
posted by the fire you left me at 5:58 PM on June 27, 2004


Got more than bluster to back that up?

For you stavros, absolutely. Most of the lower and middle class folk, who would be the most "concerned"(1) about such a number, don't pay the same proportion of taxes as the "rich"(2). Unfortunately, funding the War against Iraq isn't like a national lottery where we all kick in the same amount of cash for the Iraqi allotment. You see, we all a proportion of our income, which means that for each different tax bracket, there would be a different proportion of our income being spent in Iraq.

(1) I quote the word concerned because I honestly don't believe that a majority of Americans give a shit about the dollar value of the war.

(2) I quote rich because publishing a blatantly misleading average is a tactic to scare those who don't make a large amount of income into believing that the rich, political folk are mishandling their precious income.


Play up the fear. Don't let real statistical analysis get in your way of false conclusions.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:05 PM on June 27, 2004


BlueTrain, that isn't entirely true. The war isn't being paid for by a tax increase -- it is being covered by borrowing enormous amounts of money, resulting in the destruction of the federal surplus and strong pressures on non-government borrowing. The depressive effects of these twin negatives will be felt for years to come, and possibly be much worse than $3,000+ per family. Anyway, they will effect both the rich and the poor.
posted by Ptrin at 6:23 PM on June 27, 2004


Yet, Ptrin, your logic wasn't part of the original article. I agree that a budget deficit of this proportion will affect the entire population at a greater cost of $3000. But the article never mentioned the long-term consequences; merely the short-term cost per family, which by itself is a blatant lie.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:29 PM on June 27, 2004


::ahem:: affect the entire population at a greater cost of $3000

That was confusing.

A budget deficit of this proportion will cost taxpayers much more than $3000 per family, but the article never mentioned the long-term consequences. And the given short-term average cost per family is a blatant lie.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:52 PM on June 27, 2004


Ptrin: that assumes real vs. "imaginary" dollars. Economics is not necessarily a zero sum game. For example, if you have a building worth $1M, and yet you have a buddy who is willing to loan you $10M, using the building as collateral, he has instantly created $9M "imaginary" dollars. Yet $9M that must be accounted for.

And a LOT of world economics is based on just such strange calculations. Money is not based on things, it is based on beliefs and faith. At one time, Japan actually had an "anti-billionaire", who literally owed so many billions of dollars that his creditors couldn't call in his debts or it would have crashed the nations' economy. So he continued to live like a king, until eventually he became a billionaire again when the economy improved. Without personally doing much of anything.

Mercantilism, that idea that the country with the most specie (gold, silver) is the most powerful, is not dead, as has been asserted; in fact, it has expanded to include all sorts of resources, and even intangibles, such as the education of the public and its business environment. And, most important of all, it include economic *multipliers*.

In other words, say an American earns $35,000 a year. By the time his money has multiplied its way through the economy, in many, many ways, his value to that year's GDP may be worth $650,000. He may actually result in the payment of *more* than $35,000 in taxes! That is why the daily commerce of the US is scaled in the Trillions of dollars, not on the hundreds of millions of actual *real* money spent by individuals on that day.

On the other hand, a person in a smaller economy, say France, who earns $35,000 a year, may only multiply his earnings in their economy to the effect of $135,000. Therefore, the US would be economically "stronger" than France in the world.

So how much money is being spent on the Iraq war? Beats the heck out of me. It could actually be a negative number, that is, the US making a *profit*! Fancy that.
posted by kablam at 6:58 PM on June 27, 2004


For you stavros, absolutely.

*bows*

Muchas gracias. I regret to admit that I remain unconvinced, however, of the wisdom of the Iraqtion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:04 PM on June 27, 2004


that means it cost each household around 0.000135 dollars per Iraqi.

Do we get a discount for the dead ones?
posted by Domain Master 666 at 7:13 PM on June 27, 2004


Yup, each family pays $0.000135 dollars (I'll trust your math) per Iraqi freed from the tyranny of Saddam and delivered into the tyranny of . . . .

How much have we spent so far, as a country, on freeing each Iraqi household from and to tyranny? At $126 billion spent to date and and about 3.5 million Iraqi households (from here with eyeball interpolation) that works out to about $36,000 per Iraqi household. Don't forget, that meter is still running.
posted by caddis at 8:37 PM on June 27, 2004


will cost each US family $3,415
Yeah ... as opposed to 9/11 which cost most American families almost nothing.
I hate to be the one to break this to you Midas, but Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11.

If this were about the costs of the war in Afghanistan (or a few other terrorist states), I'd agree with you wholeheartedly, but it's not.
posted by mosch at 8:42 PM on June 27, 2004


More number fun: the $126 billion is about triple what we budgeted ($41 billion) this year for all of our federal homeland security spending. Feel safer now?
posted by caddis at 8:47 PM on June 27, 2004


What Grod said.
posted by scarabic at 10:39 PM on June 27, 2004


NYT's Op Chart: The Price Of War
posted by y2karl at 10:40 PM on June 27, 2004


If it actually cost me personally $3500 to make sure a terrorist attack such as 9/11 didn't happen again, I would gladly pay it.

I'd actually bet most readers/posters here would as well. I think the difficulty we run into is that a number of us are not at all sure that this is what we're getting for the money expended.
posted by weston at 10:55 PM on June 27, 2004


weston: if we withdrew our imperialist tentacles from the rest of the world, we might see higher costs at the pump, etc. But then again, we wouldn't have to pay the costs of maintaining that empire. It's tough to say in the end which would be less expensive for the average consumer, but it is pretty clear that our imperialism is what's driven people around the world to hate us, and some, to attack us. Now that we have this obscene homeland security budget, and wars to pay for in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost efficiency of that imperialism is going down. You could say that the terrorists did the right thing. Americans respond to nothing more quickly than a sharp pain in the popcketbook. Once we can't afford this shit anymore, we'll have no choice but to scale it back. Reagan busted the USSR on the nuclear arms race, but forcing the deployment of tens of thousands of troops is much more costly, both in financial and human terms.
posted by scarabic at 11:33 PM on June 27, 2004


What price freedom from loss of freedom?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:29 AM on June 28, 2004


What has this war cost you in the loss of personal freedom?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:30 AM on June 28, 2004


The terrorists hate us because of our imperialist tentacles? You actually believe that? Are you serious?
posted by techgnollogic at 4:49 AM on June 28, 2004


Wonder what the cost of bitchy, whiney doomsaying is?
posted by techgnollogic at 4:24 PM PST on June 27


Were you looking in a mirror as you typed that?

will cost each US family $3,415

Yeah ... as opposed to 9/11 which cost most American families almost nothing.


Saddam! 9/11!
Saddam! 9/11!
Saddam! 9/11!
"No one in my administration has linked Saddam to 9/11." - Prince Boy George (fabulous!) / Golden Golf Cheat's hero
posted by nofundy at 5:25 AM on June 28, 2004


It's the GWOT Head-in-the-Sand Dancing Ostriches!
posted by techgnollogic at 5:38 AM on June 28, 2004


Seriously, can you people not differentiate between blind-animalistic-revenge-for-9/11 and a coherent strategy against the roots of terror, or are you just not trying? Saddam didn't have to plan 9/11 or know anything about it to be an obvious initial target in need of reform in the Middle East. What were we gonna do, replace the Princes in the Magic Kingdom with Hussein tying us up across the border?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:44 AM on June 28, 2004


So pissing off the Arab world and fueling the desire for hordes of young men (and women too) to join the Jihad against the United States, with a war carrying an 11 figure price tag, all in an effort to unseat an evil doer who posed little direct threat to the United States, that is a coherent strategy against the roots of terror?
posted by caddis at 6:51 AM on June 28, 2004


The Arab world was "pissed off" to begin with, hence "planes --> towers".

You see, the "give them money and don't stir up trouble and maybe they'll be nice to us" plan of 'attack' wasn't exactly working so well.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:55 AM on June 28, 2004


You seem to view the world in black and white, but what we are talking about here is a matter of degree. Are they more pissed off, are more joining Jihad, are we safer now?
posted by caddis at 6:59 AM on June 28, 2004


Speaking of paying the price of freedom, the Supreme Court decision is in (and unbelievably, no one has yet posted it to the front page).
posted by caddis at 8:26 AM on June 28, 2004


Are they more pissed off, are more joining Jihad, are we safer now?

Are they more pissed off than when they planned to fly 10 airplanes into our Capital and our largest cities? Hmmm. I'm not convinced that should be your first concern. The 'matter of degree' in this case is inconsequential, however subtle or sublime it may be.

Are more joining Jihad, you mean more than would have if we had done nothing or responded to their attack on us with whimpering appeasement strategies? I doubt it. Much like those other enemies of America, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. With war, their numbers are reduced through arrests and casualties even while their numbers grow through recruitment. Without war, their numbers simply grow, as they did throughout the nineties when we weren't actively engaging them in battle.

Are we safer now? Of course we are. Hundreds of detainees in Guantanamo are no longer planning attacks. Thousands of dead terrorist warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq will no longer be trying to enter your country. Law enforcement now has its eyes wide open and its hands untied. Across the world, sweeping arrests of established terrorist cells continuously make your world a safer place.

Contemplating imperceptible shifts between shades of grey seems a waste of time when more important fronts have made the momentous shift from black to white.
posted by David Dark at 9:05 AM on June 28, 2004


And total discretionary spending was a whopping
787.3 Billion dollars, which works out to obscene
government taxes of $21,338 dollars per family.

So let's join Air America in urging Congress to cut Federal Taxes Now.
posted by kablam at 9:14 AM on June 28, 2004


Thanks for sharing, guys!
posted by y2karl at 9:28 AM on June 28, 2004


Are we safer now? Of course we are.

hmmm...
posted by mcsweetie at 10:32 AM on June 28, 2004


Kablam: Of the $787 billion, about half went to defense - keep it or ditch it, or just keep and and cut taxes anyway?
(Not that I am saying we don't have room for cutting as we continue to spend money like drunken sailors.)

David: Let's not confuse Iraq with Afghanistan. In Afghanistan we put a dent in Al Qaida and rounded up many evil doers. In Iraq. . . . ?
posted by caddis at 10:33 AM on June 28, 2004


What has this war cost you in the loss of personal freedom?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:30 AM PST on June 28


My girlfriend was unable to get scholarships to study in Lebanon this summer, because the State Department has a "terror advisory" on that country right now. When those are in effect, no one wants to take on the liability of sending you there, and the scholarships she qualified for became inapplicable.
posted by scarabic at 12:03 PM on June 28, 2004


Are more joining Jihad, you mean more than would have if we had done nothing or responded to their attack on us with whimpering appeasement strategies?

Meet The New Jihad
posted by homunculus at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2004


Meanwhile, in another spoke of the Axis of Evil: Kim Jong-il outwits W. on nukes.

I don't feel safer.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2004




Peter Bergen, the author of "Holy War, Inc." has a new article on Iraq and al Qaeda, but you have to pay to read the whole thing:

Backdraft: How the war in Iraq has fueled Al Qaeda and ignited its dream of global jihad.
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on June 28, 2004


I love how karl trolls his own thread.

foldy, just don't bite down on that spoon when they force feed that crap to you. "Sharply" means 10 more attacks than the year before, rising from 198 in 2002 to 208 in 2003. I'd call that slight, but let's not get picky. Instead, let's go back to 2001, since that's when we launched the war, m'kay? How many terrorist incidents were there in 2001, foldy?

I'll tell you. 355. Was going from 355 incidents in 2001 to 198 incidents in 2002 a sharp enough drop for you? Tell you what, we launched the war in October of that year, so the last quarter didn't show much terrorist activity. What about 2000? 426. Boy, things sure were better back before we decided to fight the terrorists. We've only cut the number of incidents in half since then. In fact, if you check your facts, foldy, 208 is the lowest number of terrorist incidents (excluding 198 in 2002) going all the way back to the 70's. Swallow those facts, foldy, and let me know how your tastebuds respond to the new experience.
posted by David Dark at 3:40 PM on June 28, 2004


It was a comment on your last four bumper stickers, er, sentences there, Mr. Happy Talk:

Thousands of dead terrorist warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq will no longer be trying to enter your country.

Law enforcement now has its eyes wide open and its hands untied.

Across the world, sweeping arrests of established terrorist cells continuously make your world a safer place.

Contemplating imperceptible shifts between shades of grey seems a waste of time when more important fronts have made the momentous shift from black to white.


Whooee, you give the phrase natural high a whole new absence of rational meaning there, Datura Dark--I don't know about the drugs but you got the addled part down. And this from the one who's always making the 'you're too stoned' innuendos. Will ironies never cease ?
posted by y2karl at 4:44 PM on June 28, 2004


A picture of cherry Kool-aid is a profound statement of some kind? I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Is there something demonstrably false about one of those sentences? Because you didn't address them, you just pasted them. While they do give a certain coherence to the middle of your comment, the rest is jumbled nonsense.

Try again when you come down, karl. I'll wait.
posted by David Dark at 5:37 PM on June 28, 2004


This report is a piece of shit, for the simple reason that were there no invasion of Iraq, terrorism on American soil would have cost much more.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:06 PM on June 28, 2004


"Are we safer now?"

What a dumb, pointless question. If you're in a burning house, in the last room to burn, with a flame-licked hallway between you and the exit, you're "safer" there than in the hallway. Some of us, however, would rather escape the burning building than run some muckity-muck utilitarian calculation on adjacent floorspace like doomed cellular automata.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:12 PM on June 28, 2004


Head on over to the free republic site to learn about the Kool-aid. y2karl thinks you and kablam have been drinking it. I think he's right.

I think we should put this whole argument about the number of terrorist incidents per year to rest. It is meaningless. It tells us almost nothing about our present danger. All the liberals carping about how the number actually went up last year are blowing smoke. David is right, the increase is slight and even if it were large, it doesn't take into account the severity of the incidents and, if you are worried about your own security, against whom. The data is just simply not predictive of future outcomes, and frankly tells little about the past. The measure is too crude.

Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear that the war in Iraq has probably increased the number of people willing to commit terror acts against US interests. Even Rumsfeld is not sure whether we are winning the war on terror. It provides steady fodder for the anti-US, radical muslim terror propaganda machine. Saddam was an evil M*****-F*****, but he was kept in some check by his desire to stay in power. Zealots like Bin Laden are scarier, as they are less concerned with their own personal rewards and more concerned with the mission.
posted by caddis at 6:24 PM on June 28, 2004


a certain coherence--as in in ? Do keep us posted on those shifting shades of vague.
posted by y2karl at 6:25 PM on June 28, 2004


PP and techgno, take a lesson from David and at least support your conjectures.
posted by caddis at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2004


Afghanistan... Iraq... down the hallway we go.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:47 PM on June 28, 2004


I think the difficulty we run into is that a number of us are not at all sure that this is what we're getting for the money expended.

Agreed. Not to mention the lost benefits of spending the money on other more productive programs that would impact the lives and wellbeing of the citizens, as others have mentioned above.

Just a guess off the top of my head, but it's possible that spending this kind of money on healthcare for the public would have saved more American lives than this war did in the long run. It's an abstract concept, but if we are going to weigh costs and benefits we need to look at other potential benfits we are missing out on.

Of course that leaves aside the sneaking suspicion one has that it's not really the overall well-being of the American public that the administration is worried about. On some level it might be that they are worried about their own skins -- after all, Washington, D.C., and specifically it's political and military inhabitants are likely primary targets for the enemy.
posted by moonbiter at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2004


What the fuck do you think the terrorists are "likely" to target after Washington is ash and rubble?
posted by techgnollogic at 4:56 AM on June 29, 2004


Will you please try to reign yourself in a bit, techgnollogic? Honestly, you're embarrassing yourself with the spit flying around everytime you open your mouth, textually speaking.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:22 PM on June 29, 2004


cost of the war? Well, how much is an American soldier's life worth? The money calculations i find to be rather cold-blooded.

Maybe that's what he thinks americans understand. sadly, he may be right.
posted by Miles Long at 4:39 PM on June 29, 2004


On some level it might be that they are worried about their own skins -- after all, Washington, D.C., and specifically it's political and military inhabitants are likely primary targets for the enemy.

I wouldn't leave out all the no-bid contracts.

1. Invade Iraq.
2. Award billions and billions of no-bid contracts to cronies.
3. Profit!
posted by amberglow at 4:46 PM on June 29, 2004


Well, how much is an American soldier's life worth?

Versus how much a liberated Iraqi life is worth compared to one enjoyed under the boot of Saddam Hussein. Or an American civilian that doesn't have to jump from the 82nd floor of a skyscraper.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:31 PM on June 29, 2004


Let's be honest. To me, an American soldier's life (as in, his death) is worth more than an Iraqi's 'under the boot of Saddam Hussein'. Because he's my people. The Iraqis can fight for their own freedom if they want to. just like we had to.

Oh, but now they seem to be fighting against us.

Also, what does 9/11 have to do with Iraq?
posted by Miles Long at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2004


Versus how much a liberated Iraqi life is worth compared to one enjoyed under the boot of Saddam Hussein.

Well, it's worth more than an Iraqi life snuffed out by an American bomb--like one dropped in of those 0 for 50 ''decapitation'' strikes against the Iraqi leadership that didn't hit any leaders but did nail a few hundred Iraqi civilians--but then, so was life under Saddam.

As many as 10,000 non-combatant civilian deaths during 2003 have been reliably reported so far as a result of the US/UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq . These reports provide figures which range between a minimum of 8,235 and a maximum of 10,079 as of Saturday 7th February 2004.

Or an American civilian that doesn't have to jump from the 82nd floor of a skyscraper.

Apart from the fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center--but that's cognitive dissonance for you !--it won't be from a lack of new hijacker recruits.
posted by y2karl at 6:50 PM on June 29, 2004


Well good thing we liberated 2500 times "as many as 10,000" huh, since the liberated lives are worth more.

Saddam only killed 70,000 a year on average... We're saving 60,000 a year just indiscriminately tossing our bombs around huh?

What did Morocco have to do with Pearl Harbor? What does your shortsighted 9/11-revenge-fueled-flailing foreign policy advice have to do with defeating global terrorism?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:06 PM on June 29, 2004


What did Morocco have to do with Pearl Harbor? What does your shortsighted 9/11-revenge-fueled-flailing foreign policy advice have to do with defeating global terrorism?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:06 PM PST on June 29


this makes no sense. i'm giving up on you.
posted by Miles Long at 7:43 PM on June 29, 2004


« Older Ichthyosaur Page   |   Grain farming pushed back 10000 years Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post