Just in time for the fifth anniversary of the bombs on Baghdad, and the subsequent shutdown of San Francisco’s Financial District during the next morning’s rush hour, I had to comment on some recent financial news. I’m not going to mention the current USA financial meltdown, which has trickled down (thanks for the phrase Mr. Reagan) to a huge meltdown in California’s government budget, as well as San Francisco’s own mess (and everyone else I know who is hanging on by their teeth). I want to talk about the beast that is the “reconstruction” and occupation of Iraq; a monster that Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz just said could reach $5 trillion of pain for the good ole’ red, white, and blue’s wallet. On the improbable low side, we’d maybe be out $3 trillion, states Stiglitz, who was also a former chief economist for the World Bank and now a professor at Columbia.
That’s twelve zeros behind a 5! Can anyone even comprehend twelve zeros following a monetary amount? Does everyone begin to imagine what that amount could do if the US government spent it within its own borders? Staggering is all I can say about it.
Five years ago, after being in the streets and creating art warning citizens about this very outcome of the war, I once again will hit the streets on March 19 to voice my discontent. The protests haven’t stopped, but they sure don’t seem to help any. Still, I cannot keep things business as usual while the largest Embassy ever goes over budget a world away, soldiers die for some vague reason (protecting our freedoms? be serious!) and friends get pink slipped and potentially kicked off of their MediCare aid.
After reading a few articles about the $5 trillion price tag, I will now relay to you some of the costs of war that no one seems to really think about. Later this year, as the economy continues to slide into oblivion, the dollar becomes more of a piece of paper than a traded financial promise note, and your debt is unmanageable, remember the Golden Calf of the Pentagon that everyone worships but no one dares to touch. This idol is the Supreme Ruler of our nation, and its bloat has spread across the globe. This false god is bringing ruin across the USA, dead boys in body bags, and untold suffering upon untold thousands of innocent civilians in a foreign land.
Whoever the next president is, they’ll have a mess to clean up. And if you aren’t angry about all this, then you really must love bombs more than friends and family.
The shameful list of the Golden Pentagon-shaped Calf:
- Total estimated cost of War in Iraq only: $3 to $5,000,000,000,000 (source)
- Tax dollars already spent on the War in Iraq through September: $752,000,000,000 (source)
- Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz’s total cost estimate in 2003: $60,000,000,000 (source)
- Estimate of a week’s worth or war in Iraq and Afghanistan: $3,500,000,000 (source)
- A week’s worth of tax dollars going straight to the soldiers: $350,000,000 (same source as above)
- A week’s worth of tax dollars spent on the US corporate mercenary troups: $40 $100,000,000 (same)
- A week’s worth of Military Industrial Complex contracts: $1,400,000,000 (same as three above)
- Estimated cost of the largest US Embassy ever (in the Green Zone): $592,000,000 (see next source below)
- Current cost of US Embassy (unfinished): $736,000,000,000 (source)
- Annual household cost of the War in Iraq: $4,100 (source)