fog of war

How much are the wars in (and occupations of) Afghanistan and Iraq costing US taxpayers? Wrap your mind around $10 billion a month.
With the expected passage this spring of the largest emergency spending bill in history, annual war expenditures in Iraq will have nearly doubled since the U.S. invasion, as the military confronts the rapidly escalating cost of repairing, rebuilding and replacing equipment chewed up by three years of combat.

The cost of the war in U.S. fatalities has declined this year, but the cost in treasure continues to rise, from $48 billion in 2003 to $59 billion in 2004 to $81 billion in 2005 to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found.

Annual war costs in Iraq are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars. The invasion's "shock and awe" of high-tech laser-guided bombs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft has long faded, but the costs of even those early months are just coming into view as the military confronts equipment repair and rebuilding costs it has avoided and procurement costs it never expected.
This makes sense. Spend $10 billion a month so a handful of rich people can get richer. After all, the US is a perfect society, all its citizens' needs are met, and it has nothing else to spend tax money on. Plus, the war is really helping the Iraqis, and ushering in a lasting Middle East peace. Right?

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I wish Canada would leave the US to it in Afghanistan. What on earth is being accomplished there? I mean, besides Canadians coming home in boxes.

I keep reading we're supposed to be proud of the job the Canadian armed forces are doing over there, but I don't know why. It looks less and less like peacekeeping and more like forcing democracy at the point of a gun, and propping up the US war machine.

On top of that, it's a political hot potato to suggest Canada might step back from this increasingly militaristic effort. Everyone has to fall all over themselves with praise and support for the troops, how brave they are, what a great job they're doing. It's even been suggested that demanding a full assessment of the mission is unpatriotic. We all know that tune.

The Globe and Mail recently criticized Stephen Harper for trying to "muzzle" Rick Hillier.
Plain-spoken and persuasive, General Rick Hillier has always been upfront about his concern for his troops and his passionate belief in his mission. So it is disconcerting that the Chief of the Defence Staff has apparently now joined the lengthening list of those who must clear remarks with the Prime Minister's Office. In his zeal to control the news, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in danger of squashing his most popular advocate for the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. And that would be a blunder.
Has everyone forgotten that Hillier is a General? By all accounts, he's a highly qualified man who is doing an excellent job, brought respect to the Canadian military, blah blah blah. But he's supposed to carry out the mission the government sets, not make policy! The media goes around quoting Hillier like he's the Minister of Defence. The CBC, supposedly a Liberal lap dog, wants a quote about Canada's glorious mission in Afghanistan, they go to Hillier. Well, of course, he's going to say they're needed and doing a great job, what do you expect?

Conservative Canadians say this opposition to the mission (war?) in Afghanistan is just Conservative-bashing. Progressive Americans say that Canada is becoming more militarized under Harper. Excuse me, but wasn't Canada in Afghanistan under a Liberal government? The Liberals won't touch this issue any more than Harper will.

I hope the "NDP should join the Liberals" choir remembers this tune before they start singing.

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