HOW MUCH IS IRAQ ACTUALLY COSTING US ?
There are many ways to measure the cost of Bush's war against-- and occupation of-- Iraq. The most obvious would be in lives, lives of American military personnel, lives of our allies' military personnel, lives of Iraqi civilians, lives of others caught up in the war. Then there are the tens of thousands of men, mostly men, who will spend the rest of their lives with serious handicaps (minus limbs, eyes, hearing... things like that). And, of course there are the young-- mostly young-- people whose lives have now entered into a downward spiral, impaired beyond repair from a psychological travesty inflicted on them for no good reason and with no amelioration.
Then there's what Bush and Cheney's little adventure is costing us in terms of our national zeitgeist and how the rest of the world views us. I travel a lot. It ain't what it used to be. Since the Rehnquist Supreme Court installed Bush in the White House, the world has become a chillier and chillier place for Americans. We went from being everyone's favorite visitors, in the 90's to being... suspect. (Wherever I go people wonder, "Is he a Bush fascist?") Most of the rest of the world is not brainwashed by Fox and Limbaugh and the Amen Chorus. They fear us and hate us; they're not rooting for us anymore either. At first they were sympathetic and knew we were Bush's victims. But when we let him steal 2004, I feel we lost our dignity as a people and any respect anyone might have still had for us. And in a part of the world where people have generational memories, we'll be coping with Bush's blunders and incompetence and stupidity for decades.
But what I really wanted to do today is to show you what this has cost us-- and is costing us-- in terms of cold, hard cash. Helen mentioned to me this afternoon that she read how BushCo is cutting billions from social welfare programs (not from bridges to uninhabited islands off the coast of Alaska but from Medicare and food stamps and things like that). Well, take a look at this meter and try to grok what it means for our country and your community and your family. Keep it in mind when you're in the voting booth.