Joseph Stigletz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, recently estimated the true cost of the Iraq war will ultimately total more than $2.267 trillion. That includes $725 billion for the war itself, and the rest for health care and disability benefits for more than 22,000 (to date) injured veterans and the 15% of the veterans expected to suffer psychological disorders, as well as lost income of those injured vets, higher energy costs and the enormous costs of replacing worn out or damaged military equipment.
Mr. Stigletz said one-fourth of that $2 trillion would have solved America's Social Security crisis for the next 75 years. Can you imagine what else President Bush could have accomplished domestically if not for his foreign adventurism? Health care, education, crime, drugs, rebuilding decaying inner cities and infrastructure improvements, all could have been addressed with that unimaginable amount of money.
In his Dec. 20 news conference, President Bush, who is considering sending another 30,000 troops to Iraq, urged Americans to "shop more" during this holiday season. If we are truly in a war for survival, the president's feel good advice seems strangely out of touch with reality.