Monday, July 21, 2008


If This is a Win, What Would a Loss Look Like?

My friend Jeff decided to torture me yesterday by making me watch "Fox News Sunday" as the price of sharing his air-conditioned relief from the NYC heat wave. Kristol, Hume, Wallace, crowing about how we're winning in Iraq. I just thought I'd run down the current conditions to show what a win looks like in these guys' world:

1) 4.2 million people have fled their homes since the 2003 invasion. That's "million". Of the total, 2 million are in Syria and Jordan and the rest are IDPs, internally displaced persons. Just for some perspective, the total population of Iraq is 28.2 million (Jul 2008 est.). That's 15% of the population. An equivalent per capita number of refugees in the US would be 45 million people, or more than the populations of Texas and New York combined.

2) The money is insignificant compared to the number of lives lost (mostly Iraqi) and ruined, but the cost of the war so far is a staggering $600 billion (just the direct costs, to say nothing of the future medical costs and blowback) with the price tag going up by $3 billion a week. According to Al Gore's recent speech, it would cost between $1.5 and $3.0 trillion (combined public and private investment) to make the entire US economy carbon free in ten years time. Here's a very complicated calculation: ($3 billion/week) X (52 weeks/year) X (10 years) = $1.5 trillion. Wow, that was complicated! The Fox News Sunday crew thinks the Iraq war is a great idea. They also think Al Gore's idea is completely nuts. Even Tom Brokaw, a bastion of the so-called (but in no way) liberal media, couldn't restrain his incredulity at the idea of an audacious plan to shift to renewable energy. $3 billion a week for energy independence and a last shot at avoiding the global warming catastrophe? Preposterous. $3 billion a week for Iraq? No problem.

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