Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2009 at 3:37 pm. About News and Politics, Ramblings.

What do Iraq and the economy have to do with one another?

I posted this blog commentary in September 2008, venting my frustration that the war in Iraq and the economy in crisis had been separated by the media and politicians as separate issues. Estimates indicate that anywhere from $1-3 billion (maybe I should write it as $1,000,000,000.00 to $3,000,000,000.00 for emphasis on how many zeros are present in these numbers) is being spent per month on the war in Iraq.

A member of my family forwarded an email that is circulating currently, which is currently sparking a familial discussion about whether the stimulus package is too expensive, whether it will work, etc. The focus of this forwarded message goes something like this: A billion is a huge number. A billion seconds ago it was 1959. A billlion minutes ago Jesus was alive. A billion hours ago no creatures walked upright on this planet. It then went on to outline how unfair this person thought it was that, of the 400,000-plus residents of New Orleans, the region is requesting so many billions of dollars, which works out to over $1 million per household when divided evenly. Then, at the end, there a not-so-poignant remark about how irritated the author is that he/she still has to dial “1” for English. I’m not sure that adding the issue of immigration into the message helped to illustrate the main point (it’s not the fault of immigrants that a billion is a large number, right?), but in any case, it was there.

My first reaction to this is – this is being circulated by someone out there critical of the stimulus package who thinks the government is spending too much. Does this same person recognize that he/she was (likely) in support of an overseas conflict costing $12-36 billion yearly? Many estimate the total cost of the war will near $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000.00) when factoring in disability payments for veterans, healthcare and psychiatric costs, rebuilding efforts, interest on the loans we have taken to pay for the war in the first place, etc.

At least the stimulus package gives us infrastructure we desperately need. It makes our buildings more energy efficient. It funds education. As someone in Washington state, I’m pleased that it replaces our volcanic monitoring equipment, despite how Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may feel. My point is – we get something from the use of this money. Tangible things in the U.S., built by people living here. We’re investing in children who will make the country better. The $1 trillion to be spent on Iraq when all is said and done does what? Demolishes and then rebuilds a foreign nation that was never a threat to us? Pays to rehabilitate and care for returning veterans who should not have been sent into harm’s way in the first place? People who support the latter and don’t support the former are using a line of thinking which I cannot understand (unless the one arguing in favor of spending in Iraq is a stockholder in an energy company enjoying a no-bid contract over there).

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