Sunday, September 23, 2007

War isn't free

By Libby

Emboldened by the GOP's successful shootdown of any relief for our troops, Bush is about to ask more war bucks.
The request will total nearly $200 billion to fund the war through 2008, Pentagon officials said. If it is approved, 2008 will be the most expensive year of the Iraq war.

...When costs of CIA operations and embassy expenses are added, the war in Iraq currently costs taxpayers about $12 billion a month, said Winslow T. Wheeler, a former Republican congressional budget aide who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

So where's all that money going? According to the government:
U.S. war costs have continued to grow because of the additional combat forces sent to Iraq in 2007 and because of efforts to quickly ramp up production of new technology, such as mine- resistant trucks designed to protect troops from roadside bombs. The new trucks can cost three to six times as much as armored Humvees.

The trouble with that strategy is that as we go high tech, they defeat the technology by going lower tech. How much armor do you think it would take to protect against an IED the size of a cemet mixer?

A small fraction of the money goes to the men and women fighting and dying in the sand pit. Most of it is going to private corporations for no bid, cost plus contracts that carry no performance stipulations and are virtually unmonitored. So far the Pentagon can't account for $88 billion tax dollars and that's just the fraud they've been forced to admit. You know it has to be bigger.

And as we pour our blood and treasure into a failed state thousands of miles away, we have a failing state at home. It's called Michigan. For what it costs to occupy Iraq for one week, $4 billion, Michigan's budget crisis would not only be over, they would be rolling in dough. Somehow I think that would make the citizens of that state feel more secure than another week of war.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

better yet. we could give themoney being used in this war BACK TO THE PEOPLE WHO EARNED IT.

10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

We could do a whole lot of things rather than fritter it away on the occupation. That's for sure Lester.

11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what the warfare state costs"

2:43:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Good link Lester. A little wonky for me but I get the gist of the reasoning. Thanks.

3:57:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...

no war is not cheap and one more thing winning a war is always more costly than losing a war.

7:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Griper said...

one more thing. we are no longer an occupation force in Iraq. that stopped when iraq got a government as elected. we were invited to remain there and fight against a mutual enemy.

7:53:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Griper, last I saw it's only the politicians with their hands in the till that are asking us to stay. 70% of the people want us out of there and come December, the parliament may well rescind our invitation to remain. What are you going to say then?

And by the way, can you tell me how we're going to know when we've "won." Seems to me we already did everything we were supposed to.

8:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

libby- the essay is based on the idea of the "broken windows fallacy". (note that this is different from the broken windows theory of law enforcement, which is based on upkeep so a neighborhood doesn't appear run down)

the fallacy is that when someones window gets smashed people say that it's great because the window maker can now sell another window and this helps the economy. woods and others say no, windows are replaced due to wear and tear whenever they are ready to go, the money thisman now needs to spend on a window, or multiple windows, is money he was gong to spend on a sweater or something. now the guy who has the clothes store has one less customer. of course most analogies don't bear close examination so Iwon't get into the actual example so much as to say that the money we spend on the military would be better used in the civilian economy and the money we specifically spend on wars even moreso. Besides the immorality of war, all that money is essentially drained inot th desert. it doesn't circulate into the economy it doesn't do anything.

10:04:00 AM  
Blogger The Griper said...


the government is the voice of the people. it is an elected government. that is the reason we elect people.

as for parliament recinding the invite, fine, that is their responsibility. we leave then.

as for what constitutes winning, this is only a personal thought but winning comes when one side or the other surrenders. now, if the President uses another idea that is his decision not mine nor is it yours. That is Constitutional whether we like it or not. you and I have no say in that decision.

as for doing all we can, remember the definition of insurgency. waging war to overthrow a government.

as for their government being corrupt there is an old say that says "clean your own house before demanding that someone else clean theirs."

as for 70% wanting us out i'll add to that by saying that 100% of the Iraqis would like us to leave as well as 100% of the American people, including me. no one likes war. and i speak of the average person.

2:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...


based on today's standard of morality, every war is immoral and was or will be immoral. so, unless you are a pacifist the argument fails on this argument.

"all that money is essentially drained inot th desert. it doesn't circulate into the economy it doesn't do anything."

ok, now that statement has made me curious, show me.

2:50:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Griper if we were at 100 percent, we would been out of there. And no one is ever going to surrender. Not us and not them. We battled to a draw. There's no point in continuing this. We're only delaying the inevitable.

Lester, like I said, I'm number averse, but I get the concept and I agree that the money would be better spent for civilian needs. In fact, I just pitched that in Detroit this week.

7:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...

fine, libby, get the insurgents to surrender because as i said there can only be a winner or loser in war. there are no draws in war. why should we and the Iraqi people surrender?

if you seek to pull out the troops now, you have declared that the insurgents have won and they will overthrow the government as elected. and when that is done it will either be a forced Theocracy or a dictatorship. is that what you want for the Iraqi people?

and aren't you the one that said that our invite will be probably withdrawn in December? so, why the hurry. but i'll make ya a bet that it won't be withdrawn.

10:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...

we are at 100% libby. we're always at 100% when it comes to war and wanting the troops to come home. and no, just because we are at 100% does not mean we would have been out of there already. Don't confuse the what with the when or how.

10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

libby- I 'm also numbers averse. I know only a tiny bit of economic philosophy. I don't follow the stock market.

the griper- well, the authors point is tihs:

"thousands of men and women pulled away (voluntarily or otherwise) from civilian pursuits, millions of man-years of industrial effort, millions of barrels of oil pumped from the earth, and thousands of square yards of planet space filled with equipment and debris. In short, the real cost of military activities should be measured in human and natural resources and in the stocks of productive capital absorbed in producing, transporting, and maintaining weapons and other military equipment. It is in the sense of alternative opportunities lost that military spending should be considered – the numbers of people employed by the military, the goods and services it purchases from the private sector, the real estate it ties up, and the technology devoted to it. Not only do we lose the opportunity for civilian use of goods and services, but we also lose the potential economic growth that these resources might have brought about. "

but that's just ONE way military spending distorts our economy. the author, who also wrote "the politically incorrect guide to american history", points out how higher education has been compromised in many instances as well. and there are more

9:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is perhaps a more colorful explanation of this principle

9:51:00 AM  
Blogger The Griper said...

ok,,by your point made that can be said of all welfare programs also not just the military. every point used can said of welfare too. and it also can be said of every person who receives money from the government especially every employee of government.

5:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the griper- exactly!

10:15:00 AM  
Blogger The Griper said...


then the logical conclusion would be to be a country without any form of government. the problem with that is;

1 it would leave us vulnerable to a takeover by the worst of people without the capability to defend ourselves.

2. revenge not justice would be the rule of law then.

3. there would be a far greater number of innocent people dead instead of the number imprisoned now.

4 this list could go on forever.

government is the manmade means to a civilized society. therefore the cost of it is justified. economically it can be called an necessary expense item in the ledger books of a civilized society, imperfect but still necessary.

tis only the individual that needs no government for he rules himself. and the laws he follows are the laws of morality that has been infused within him.

laws of government are determined by compromise in our society. laws of morality were not meant to be determined by compromise only by understanding and comprehension of what it demands of us.

it is this fact that partially inspired my last post on my site.

1:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...

I need to ammend something in above comment. i added a new post so the one in reference is "All men are created Equal"

3:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the griper- there is more to government than welfare and warfare. if your concern is security, if we took out the bloated pentagon budget and the big pharma drug bill and sliced them in half, you could hire twice as many police and pay them twice as much. There is alot of space between a 3 trillion dollar budget and a somali zero dollar budget.

nor does not having a state mean you don't havelaw and order. our tax dollars pay for all the stuff the goverment spends. We could pay police outrselves, for example.

10:10:00 AM  
Blogger The Griper said...


first of all, in the form of government that has been set up for us there is a separation of power and authority. and that does not mean strictly within the federal government. there is a separation of powers between federal government and state government also. and police work falls under state rights not federal rights. so, the federal budget does not affect police work or wages or number of cops we have on the streets to "so-call protect" us. state budgets and local budgets take care of that.

and i agree with you, the federal budget is bloated. but i'll give you a means to really cut the federal budget and do far better job. get the federal government out of the business that rightly belongs to state authority as our founding fathers set up our form of government.

your argument leads to centralized control of government. my way leads to local control and better control by the people themselves. that is why our form of government was called the "great experiment", localized control as opposed to centralized control as governments were at the time of our founding.

"nor does not having a state mean you don't havelaw and order. our tax dollars pay for all the stuff the goverment spends. We could pay police outrselves, for example."

we already have that ability. they are called security guards which are privately funded and private investigators which are privately funded. the reason we have a police force is that not everyone can afford to hire these people. who will "protect" them?

one more thing about police forces. they are but one arm of our justice system. private cops are not. a police force were created to enforce the laws of the state. private cops are not.

that would not be the job of private cops. their job is to act in the best interest of their client even if that meant going against the laws.

stop thinking as if tax dollars belong to the people. it is money that belongs to the state. tax dollars are paid for services received. and national security is the primary service the people receive from the federal government or was the intended service that every government were created for from the beginning of time that societies began to exist as a society.

2:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"national security is the primary service the people receive from the federal government "

so we pay 3 trillion a year for them to invade countries that aren't a threat to us like Iraq and Iran? Other wise we are anarchists?

I agree a hundred percent about federalism. state goverments are horrible as well, but at least they can't print money or start wars.

"stop thinking as if tax dollars belong to the people. it is money that belongs to the state."

lol. what if we all decided not to pay it? the country and the state are not the same thing. America is our selves, our families and our communities. the nation-state is a bunch of theives in the beltway who do very little as inefficiently as possible.

the idea that this is the way things have been since the begining of time is wrong. We didn't have social security or the federal reserve or the self appointed duty to make the world free and we managed to get along somehow. It's when people started this greand national purpose stuff that we started getting problems. "freedom for fear" and "making the world safe for democracy". that's why i respect illegal aliens. they came here for the same reason most of our ancestors did: for prosperity and liberty, usually from south american commie governments or corrupt mexican govt.

3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you have some extra time you may want to check that out.

at any rate, any effort to shrink our budget would be fine with me. whether it's one dollar or 3 trillion

3:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Griper said...

"at any rate, any effort to shrink our budget would be fine with me. whether it's one dollar or 3 trillion."

on this you have no argument from me. and shrinking budget means shrinking government also. which i believe you are getting at. and i agree also.

read the article you asked me to read. and i got a chuckle from it also. my last post in my site of "Confusion" is based on one of the articles from that site.

but have to say that the article you asked me to read presents a fallacious argument.

also this is my last post in this article. not because i don't wish to discuss it anymore but because the post is too far down now and being lazy i'm not too fond of scrolling down to it. lol that, to me, is one of the negatives of blogs though i enjoy blogs both as a visitor and author. has been an enjoyable discussion.

12:10:00 AM  

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