>Mistakes Were Made

>Remember when the Bush Administration fired Lawrence Lindsey for estimating the cost of regime change in Iraq at $200 billion? Ha ha that was so funny.

Today Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard’s Linda Blimes had to revise their $3 trillion war estimate. Upwards:

But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war’s broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

Moreover, two years on, it has become clear to us that our estimate did not capture what may have been the conflict’s most sobering expenses: those in the category of “might have beens,” or what economists call opportunity costs. For instance, many have wondered aloud whether, absent the Iraq invasion, we would still be stuck in Afghanistan. And this is not the only “what if” worth contemplating. We might also ask: If not for the war in Iraq, would oil prices have risen so rapidly? Would the federal debt be so high? Would the economic crisis have been so severe?

The answer to all four of these questions is probably no. The central lesson of economics is that resources — including both money and attention — are scarce. What was devoted to one theater, Iraq, was not available elsewhere.

The rest of the piece is equally depressing.

When you think of all the things that could have been done with that money — healthcare, teachers hired, environmental restoration, infrastructure rebuilding, job training, scientific research, unemployment extensions — all the stuff the Republicans are yammering about how we don’t have money to do these things and the free hand of the market should pay for them anyway! while wringing their hands over making our grandchildren pay for the stimulus! when in fact not one of those assholes said anything about our grandchildren paying for this stupid, useless war except CLAP LOUDER. It just turns my stomach, it really does.

But the worst part is that no one went to jail for this. No one’s career was destroyed for this mistake. Hell, there are rumors that John Bolton might run for president. People got rich off the taxpayer teat — people like Erik Prince, such a nice Christian fellow — and where is the call for accountability? *Crickets*

I simply don’t understand why the nation is not rising up over the biggest national blunder in our history. We’ll quite literally be paying for this mistake for a generation, on so many levels. And it’s like the entire country is happily choosing to move along, think happy thoughts now, er, maybe not happy thoughts since we’re all so depressingly broke but here’s a great idea, let’s blame the black man in the White House for all of our problems instead of having a come to Jesus moment about our national shame. How’s that working for everybody?

I still cannot believe that we invaded a country for no reason and no one has paid for it. The biggest mistake of the Obama Administration was not devoting a little time and energy to a war inquiry like what they’re doing in the UK right now, or a truth and reconciliation commission like they did in South Africa. To borrow President Obama’s favorite phrase: make no mistake. The physical and psychic wounds of this colossal error run very, very deep. And by not channeling the grief and anger where it belongs, without giving us a chance for national healing, Obama has just heaped a whole bunch of grief and anger on himself.

And I have a special word to our glorious mainstream media. You folks so eager to cover every gathering of Teanuts who seem oh so worried about the national debt, not a one of them ever asks where Dick Armey was when our $3 trillion war was drummed up (originally opposing the war, Armey voted in favor of war authorization after Dick Cheney made him wet his pants.) Our prestigious national news media, so busy picking apart every little thing President Obama does, like what condiments he puts on his burgers and what beverages he drinks — yet they can’t be bothered to ask how or why the last administration was allowed to bankrupt the nation and slaughter thousands of innocents.

Guess they’re too busy washing the blood off of their hands.


Filed under Iraq War, media, rants

7 responses to “>Mistakes Were Made

  1. >For instance, many have wondered aloud whether, absent the Iraq invasion, we would still be stuck in Afghanistan.=====================Bush and Cheney ignored that place for 7 years. I think Obama made a huge mistake taking over their lost cause.~

  2. >The USA has become like a cheap carny house of mirrors. So many false choices, nowhere to go but down and out. And I know you aren't kidding yourself SB when you as what all that freakin' money could have accomplished in terms of serving the needs of the people… there is no chance in hell that cash would have ever hit the streets, far less into our pockets. One way to look at the war(s) dreamed up out of whole cloth is the Owners had no other choice but to start throwing money into the military rathole — if they hadn't done so, the Wrong People would have gotten their grubby ungrateful hands on it. With more money might come a slow dawning of how fucked America has become and just who the Fuckers really are. Maybe, just maybe, they might have done something about it. Can't have the mob getting their head up now, can we hmmmm? Better to drive them into feudalistic submission and train them to lick the hand that holds the whip.

  3. >It's not possible to be cynical enough about the Repugs. A decent person's head simply cannot go there.I blogged about this today as well, with a different emphasis.http://jazzbumpa.blogspot.com/2010/09/iraq-war-costs.htmlCheck the AB (Angry Bear) link at my place, and click through to Thoma's blog and check the comments there.There really is no bottom to this cesspool. The Liberty League is finally winning, after all these decades, and WASF,JzB

  4. >he Owners had no other choice but to start throwing money into the military rathole …Yeah I guess some kind of war was inevitable after the Soviet Union crumbled on our Great Enemy disappeared. Got to keep the MIC fed.Of course remember in the summer leading up to 9/11 all we heard was about how we had to have a Star Wars program? Remember that? Missile shields and all that? Until some cave men armed with boxcutters brought Americans to their knees. And then that was the end of that.So yeah a bunch of that money probably would have ended up weaponizing space.But what's done is done. Now I have to blame the Democrats for once again playing their cards wrong. With majorities in the House, Senate and having the White House they could have gone into the midterm election discussing what the Bush Administration did wrong. It would be the right thing to do, for one thing. Now, we're going into the midterm elections arguing over whether the stimulus was big enough.*STUPID*

  5. >Jeez, "Freedom Ain't Free", is this what the unthinking repuklitards meant?

  6. >One president tried to get us to look at ourselves and face up to where we were headed and then a republican came along and told everyone that we are just fine the way we are. Even made the Democrat look silly and judgmental, and can you believe it, that sorry excuse for a presidential candidate got elected and with something called "morning in America". I don't think we are anymore ready for a come to Jesus moment now than we were then. I mean, what did they go into Iraq to do? Protect our way of life? I think that was it.

  7. >Also… now that the "thin green line" report has been made public, it might do to talk about the squandering of the wealth and assets of the most powerful military in the world. We all knew when the enormous Navy cargo vessels were being loaded to the gunwhales with humvees, fighting vehicles and every imaginable type of equipment that none of that equipment would ever return to the U.S. or any other strategic location in the world. The president would have his war no matter what, even as he lied through his teeth about it being Saddam who chose this war. Probably the diesel needed to ship all that stuff out of San Diego, through the Panama canal and across the Atlantic caused another oil shortage. If the stated cost of the war is hovering around 250 gigadollars, you know that does not include assets that were already paid for, fuel, or a thousand other hidden costs. The sad part is that even if every American believed that the war would eventually cost more than a trillion dollars, there will someday be 3,000 American dead, and somehow became aware of Iraqi casualties and miraculously actually gave a damn, there would still be those who said it was the right thing to do. At least we got rid of that Saddam!My trillion dollar prediction from January 2006. Five more years at $30B/month = an additional $1.8 trillion just in operating costs. The truth is the 3 trillion number in no way includes therapy and health care for the 30,000 seriously wounded. That's just the budgeted cost of keeping it all going.I did get one thing wrong, however. Some of that military equipment was actually salvaged to another theater of operations. Obama has recently bragged about how much equipment (F.O.B.s) have been moved out of Iraq into Afghanistan. Through the Mediterannean Sea on ships? Through the Caucasian Steppes on trains? It costs more than the original manufacture.