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A terribly expensive war

  1. May 14, 2004 #1
    For the first time since the war began, a majority of the respondents to the Gallup poll — 54 percent — say the war in Iraq has not been worth the costs, while 44 percent said it has been worthwhile. When the war first began in March 2003, 29 percent of Americans said the war was not worth it, while 68 percent said it was.


    And it seems it's not finished.

    A terribly expensive war


    (quote) The White House had hoped to hold off asking for more money to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan until after the election, but with costs rising faster than expected, it sent a request for an early installment of $25 billion to Congress this week.

    The terse, three-page request came with a catch that stunned lawmakers: While the funds were allocated to broad categories -- $16 billion for the Army, $6 billion for the other services, $5 billion for covert operations -- Bush asked for a free hand to transfer the money to other activities related to Iraq and Afghanistan at will.

    Congress should be wary of writing a blank check. It is a risky precedent. Traditionally Congress has jealously guarded its constitutionally bestowed control of the purse strings. Bush said he would transfer the money only for "emergency and essential" purposes. But those are elastic terms, and this request will not be the last.

    The Bush administration has said it will come back later in the year for a second installment of $25 billion, for a total of $50 billion. But even that might not be enough. New figures given Congress this week say spending on Iraq and Afghanistan could be $66 billion or more for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

    The nation was assured before the war that Iraqi oil revenues would pay for rebuilding and occupying Iraq; the implication being that this venture would be of only moderate cost to the taxpayers. Iraq's oil revenues are projected at $16.6 billion this year. Once the money is deducted to renovate the oil fields after years of neglect and mismanagement, what's left might not even be enough to fund the new interim Iraqi government. With the $160 billion or so we have spent so far, plus another $66 billion next year, the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could be more than $220 billion by the end of fiscal 2005.

    Wasn't it Larry Lindsey who was fired as White House economic adviser three months in advance of the invasion of Iraq for suggesting that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion?
    (end of quote.)

    And that's only money.
    Then you have the lost of American, Coalition and Iraqi lives.
    Next you have all those lives which are damaged with all various type of wounds and life-time handicaps.
    Next to that you have all those people coming back or staying there with terrible emotional impressions and memories.

    And let's be honest ... what's the result ... of all these costs?

    I put this link already somewhere before, but it's interesting: http://costofwar.com
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2004 #2
    I agree. the war costs too much, in fact, our whole government costs too much
  4. May 17, 2004 #3
    Thank you for your concern Pelastration. Below is the address where you can send your personal check:

    U. S. Department of the Treasury
    1500 Pennslvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, D. C. 20220

    I think it's the least you can do, since the USA has been protecting your postage stamp size country for the last sixty years.
  5. May 17, 2004 #4
    Robert, next to that easy emotional comment which seems to ventilate frustration ... any real comment about the content?
  6. May 17, 2004 #5
    The war was right, despite whether those in power had alternative motives.
    The war is costing too much.
    I would support spending twice as much if it were NEEDED.
    Why aren't the Iraqis being paid 10 bucks a day to rebuild their own country?
    I hate bloated spending.
  7. May 17, 2004 #6
    "To rid the world of terrorism and Islamo-fascism."
  8. May 18, 2004 #7
    1. You said:"The war was right, despite whether those in power had alternative motives."
    Why not turn around. The "alternative motives" were more important then "Saddam".

    The PNAC guys (Wolfovitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, Feith, Wurmser, ..) in full power have expansionist motives and Saddam was the "immediate justification".

    I am not inventing this Phatmonky.
    You can read it for yourself in a file of the "Project of the New American Century".

    I don't know Phatmonky if you ever took the time to read that PNAC-document of 2000 http://www.newamericancentury.org/R...casDefenses.pdf .
    The real reason is:" ... the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf."
    It had nothing to do with the public arguments like: Saddam, WMD's, ethics, democracy or restoring human rights.

    2. You said: "I would support spending twice as much if it were NEEDED."
    The final bill will be not twice but triple or more + lives that can't be replaced.

    If you agree Phatmonky that " ... the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf." is the most important goal for USA that makes worth all that money spending ... that's OK to me. You have the right to have that approach.
    But then you have to take in account that also Syria is a goal in the PNAC approach, if a stable occupation of Iraq by USA allows this. That will be the next additional bill to come.

    3. In my opinion "this war was not right".
    For the general public in USA the motives were indeed: the public marketing arguments like: Saddam, WMD's, ethics, democracy or restoring human rights, but then there were different ways that reach that goal, and the most logic was the UN.
    That would have spread the costs.
    Last edited: May 18, 2004
  9. May 18, 2004 #8
    The war revealed Americas hidden enemies. A priceless happening.
  10. May 18, 2004 #9


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    Which hidden enemies were those, the ones who have been sending videotapes to Al Jazeera for years? Or were you talking about the French and Germans?

    The war in Afghanistan did enhance our security. It should have done more, but it was robbed of resources to fund the war in Iraq.

    The war in Iraq, if done right, could have enhanced our security. Then it would be a debate of whether it was worth the lives and money it cost. Instead, it is quite possible that we have gone out of our way to harm our own security.

    Removing Saddam Hussein is a humanitarian plus, despite all of the collateral damage of the war itself, and the civil unrest that followed. Fewer people have died than would have had there been no war. That isn't good enough though. Had we delayed 6 months we would not have needed to pull special forces out of Afghanistan. We could have ensured that more troops would be available for maintaining order and control of the Iraqi border. Had we executed due diligence in our intelligence we would have dismissed Ahmad Chalabi as the fraud he is, and arranged for a more useful and acceptable interim Iraqi government.

    One of the principle points of the war was to allow the US to remove troops from Saudi Arabia. That was always the single biggest aim of Al Qaeda - get infidel soldiers out of their holiest land. The idea was to remove a key Al Qaeda recruiting point. The bone-headed execution of the Iraq war may have gotten our troops out of Saudi Arabia, but it sure as hell isn't reducing Al Qaeda's popularity.

    For what will eventually be more than 300 billion dollars, we should have acheived much more.

  11. May 18, 2004 #10
    Halliburton in the soup

    WASHINGTON - Pentagon auditors have recommended withholding nearly US$160 million (S$277 million) in payments to Halliburton Corp, saying the company charged the US military last year for meals in and around Iraq that were never served.

    US Vice-President Dick Cheney's former company said in a statement on Monday it hoped to persuade Army officials to reject the auditors' recommendation.

    The alleged overcharging for meals is one of several suspected improprieties with the contract work in Iraq involving Halliburton subsidiary KBR. -- AP


    Jez, if Army officials don't reject the auditors' recommendation Dick is going to miss a commission of ... let's keep it reasonable ... 10%(?), that makes US$16 million.

    :devil: Maybe the confusion was that these meals in and around Iraq were served, but never eaten! :yuck: Since this job was allotted to Halliburton without an official tender (to avoid that McD and other competitors would participate) there was no warranty of what a "meal" may be. Maybe just an empty cardboard box with "Happy Meal" on. :shy:
    Last edited: May 18, 2004
  12. May 18, 2004 #11


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    They won the competitive bidding process for the LOGCAP contract in 2001....
    So, I believe you're a bit misinformed in this particular instance.
  13. May 19, 2004 #12
    Thanks kat for checking and taking your time. :smile:

    :devil: Since the meals were probably well described in the bidding tender ... it's important to know that the meals that were never served ... had good quality!

    So the good spirit was there. Therefore I would suggest that Dick Cheney still gets his symbolic bonus of US$16 million. The poor man - defending 48 hours per day the American values and security - needs to know that his work is highly appreciated. :rolleyes:
  14. May 19, 2004 #13


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    You're welcome.
    Where are you getting this outragious figure of $16million?
  15. May 19, 2004 #14
    Paul D. Wolfowitz is genius

    U.S. Faces Growing Fears of Failure
    Under tough questioning from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a leading administration advocate of the Iraq intervention, acknowledged miscalculating that Iraqis would tolerate a long occupation. A central flaw in planning, he added, was the premise that U.S. forces would be creating a peace, not fighting a war, after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

    "We had a plan that anticipated, I think, that we could proceed with an occupation regime for much longer than it turned out the Iraqis would have patience for. We had a plan that assumed we'd have basically more stable security conditions than we've encountered," Wolfowitz told the senators.
    ... page 2:
    Some military officers are also concerned that Washington is now cutting back on its original goal of eliminating major flash points in Iraq before June 30. They say the United States has basically retreated in Fallujah, handing over control of the Sunni city to a former Iraqi general who is now commanding some of the very insurgents U.S. forces were fighting -- again, in the name of expediency.

    "What we're trying to do is extricate ourselves from Fallujah," said a senior U.S. official familiar with U.S. strategy who would speak only on the condition of anonymity. "There's overwhelming pressure with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the White House to deliver a successful Iraq transition, and Iraq is proving uncooperative."

    In his testimony, Wolfowitz expressed optimism about trends in Iraq. "We're not trying to suggest by any means that this is a rosy scenario, but we do think that Iraq is moving forward toward self-government and self-defense, and that's the key to winning," he said.

    But in response to persistent questioning, Wolfowitz said the United States had been "slow" in creating Iraqi security forces and too severe in its early policy of de-Baathification, or barring from government jobs and political life tens of thousands of Iraqis who were members of Hussein's ruling Baath Party.

    He listed other shortcomings in planning, including underestimating the resilience of Hussein or his supporters, their postwar operational capabilities and financial resources. Wolfowitz also said he did not know how many U.S. troops would remain posted to Iraq over the next 18 months. "It could be more, it could be less" than the level of 135,000 troops the Pentagon has said it plans to keep in Iraq through 2005.

    And he conceded that the question of how Iraq will operate after June 30 remains unsettled, adding that officials would have a better idea of how Iraqi sovereignty will work "as soon as we know who our counterparts are."


    2. This reassuring. 40 days before the transition Wolfowitz still needs to know "... who our counterparts are."

    Why not share his optimism, we have no idea how Iraqi sovereignty will work ... but we do think that Iraq is moving forward toward self-government and self-defense.

    I would here propose to nominate Wolfowitz for a new type of Nobel prize: The Nobel prize for Optimistic Planning.
  16. May 19, 2004 #15
    Sorry kat I thought you were with me in my cynical joke.
    I have my personal 'intuitive' doubts about Dick Cheney not making profits form any Halliburton deal. History shows that the link Cheney-Halliburton is too close, and Halliburton was inside the pre-war preparations, got to much deals out of bidding procedures, etc.

    Interesting NameBase (social network diagram):
    http://www.namebase.org/cgi-bin/nb06?_HALLIBURTON_KBR_(KELLOGG BROWN ROOT)
  17. May 19, 2004 #16


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    I'll tell you why the cost of this war has skyrocketed.

    The one thing that should have been learned in Vietnam was that the evolution of political institutions in the midst of a sustained guerrilla war is impossible.

    The invasion of Iraq was not and never should have been thought of as an end in itself. Iraq's only importance was its geographic location:The United States needed it as a base of operations and a lever against the Saudis and others, but it had no interest -- or should have had no interest -- in the internal governance of Iraq.

    The Bush administration created a new goal: the occupation and administration of Iraq by the United States, with most of the burden falling on the U.S. military. Over time, this evolved to a new mission: the creation of democracy in Iraq.

    Under the best of circumstances, this is not something the United States has the resources to achieve. Iraq is a complex and multi-layered society with many competing interests. The creation of a viable democracy in the midst of a civil war, even if Iraqi society were amenable to copying American institutions, is an impossibility!

    The United States' invasion of Iraq was not a great idea.

    Its single virtue was that it was the best available idea among a series of even worse ideas.

    However, the United States now cannot withdraw from Iraq.

    I condemned the initial invasion, but a withdrawal under pressure would be used by al Qaeda and radical Islamists as proof of their core belief: that the United States is inherently weak and, like the Soviet Union, ripe for defeat. Having gone in, withdrawal in the near term is not an option.

    In the spring of 2003, the United States had no way to engage or defeat al Qaeda. The only way to achieve that was to force Saudi Arabia -- and lesser enabling countries such as Iran and Syria -- to change their policies on al Qaeda and crack down on its financial and logistical systems. In order to do that, the United States needed two things. First, it had to demonstrate its will and competence in waging war -- something seriously doubted by many in the Islamic world and elsewhere. Second, it had to be in a position to threaten follow-on actions in the region.

    Moreover, we understood that the invasion would generate hostility toward the United States within the Islamic world, but we felt this would be compensated by dramatic shifts in the behavior of governments in the region. All of this has happened. Al Qaeda is trying to kill me. Countries such as Saudi Arabia permitted al Qaeda to flourish. The presence of a couple of U.S. armored divisions along the kingdom's northern border has been a very sobering thought. That pressure cannot be removed. Whatever chaos there is in Saudi Arabia, that is the key to breaking al Qaeda -- not Baghdad.

    This war drew the U.S. Army into the type of warfare for which it is least suited....., urban guerrilla warfare where we can't help but kill innocent bystanders.

    The United States must begin by recognizing that it cannot possibly pacify Iraq with the force available or, for that matter, with a larger military force. It can continue to patrol, it can continue to question people, it can continue to take casualties. However, it can never permanently defeat the guerrilla forces in the Sunni triangle using this strategy. It certainly cannot displace the power and authority of the Shiite leadership in the south. Urban warfare and counterinsurgency in the Iraqi environment cannot be successful.

    This means the goal of reshaping Iraqi society is beyond the reach of the United States. Iraq is what it is.

    The United States must remember its original mission, which was to occupy Iraq in order to prosecute the war against al Qaeda. The United States has no national interest in the nature of Iraqi government or society. Except for not supporting al Qaeda, Iraq's government does not matter. Since the Iraqi Shia have an inherent aversion to Wahabbi al Qaeda, the political path on that is fairly clear.

    Iraq should then be encouraged to develop a Shiite-dominated government, the best guarantor against al Qaeda and the greatest incentive for the Iranians not to destabilize the situation. The fate of the Sunnis will rest in the deal they can negotiate with the Shia and Kurds -- and, as they say, that is their problem.

    Moreover, a victory in this war would not provide the United States with anything that is in its national interest. (Unless you are an ideologue who believes bringing American-style democracy to the world is a holy mission)

    It must get out of Baghdad, Al Fallujah, An Najaf and the other sinkholes into which the administration's policies have thrown U.S. soldiers.But in the desert west and south of the Euphrates, (relatively deserted and still a presence noticed by the neighboring countries) the United States can carry out the real mission for which it came.
  18. May 19, 2004 #17


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    So,....Dick Cheney is making profits on war based on your intuition?

    It would seem that (if one only read headlines) the Guardian would agree with you...

    Headline reads Cheney is still paid by Pentagon contractor

    But then way down....at the bottom of the article is this..little tidbit..
    Based on this...Cheney might be guilty of..taking a tax break based on charitable donations...hmmm
  19. May 19, 2004 #18
    He also retains shares in a mutual fund which owns shares in Halliburton. Those, he did not sell. As for the charity... TAX BREAK!
  20. May 19, 2004 #19
    1. kat : "Dick Cheney is making profits on war based on your intuition?".
    I read this as if I advized him so he makes profits now. But I am not that close to him. Have no intentions.

    2. Charity about the visual profits? And what would be the goal of that organization? Charity is a nice name that covers many activities. The real issue are the hidden commissions.
  21. May 19, 2004 #20


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    Palestration- uh..."charity about visual profits?"...huh?
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