As of 2 p.m. (CST) on August 23, 2005, the war in Iraq had cost U. S. taxpayers $189,476,500,321. This according to estimates from Congressional appropriations to date.
Take another look at that sum.
What could the nation have done with this money had we not gone to war in Iraq?
Well, . . .
We could have built 1,706,057 additional housing units.
We could have paid for 25,096,232 children to attend a full year of Head Start.
We could have provided health insurance for 113,459,062 of our fellow Americans.
We could have hired 3,283,653 public school teachers for a full year.
We could have provided full-pay, four year scholarships to public universities for 9,185,415 students.
We could have fully funded global anti-hunger efforts for 7 years.
We could have fully funded worldwide AIDS programs for 18 years.
We could have provided basic immunizations for every child in the world for 63 years.
According to the National Priorities Project, the source for this comparative information, here in Texas the cost of the war totals $16.6 billion. I expect that kind of money might have helped us move toward a solution for public school funding.
The tab for Dallas stands at over $890.7 million.
Hmmm. Wonder what the city of Dallas could have accomplished with that kind of tax savings? Hunger, education, employment training, housing, nutrition, health care. . .as I think about it, the list is almost endless.
It may be about time to ask some questions. I believe that is especially true if you really care about poverty, cities and justice--not to mention peace!
I know all the arguments and the now standard rhetoric about "fighting terrorism."
But, really now, are bombs and troops and firestorms really as effective at battling our enemies as solid diplomacy or effective initiatives to improve global health and develop economies and new markets?
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took up the anti-war cause toward the end of his life during the Vietnam era, some people did not understand. But Dr. King did. He knew that the needs and the rights of under-paid, struggling sanitation workers in a city like Memphis, Tennessee were tied directly to the billions being spent in futile jungle warfare on the other side of the world.
History repeats itself. The cities of the nation suffer needlessly and we do not have the results we desire.
[To watch the spending in real time check out http://costofwar.com and http://nationalpriorities.org.]
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