Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Money Well Spent?

Something to keep in mind as you watch at the dizzying recalibration of goalposts in Iraq from: (a) model liberal democracy achieved in rapid progression that will transform the region into a democratic bloc, normalize relations with Israel and extinguish the allure of jihadist terrorism throughout the Muslim world; to (b) less than perfect democracy that will still transform the region, limited relations to Israel, maybe still some lingering appeal to terrorism not cancelled out by Iraq; to (c) mildly theocratic democracy, definitely no ties to Israel, close relations with Iran, exacerbating terrorism problems with high likelihood of serious blowback in the near future; to (d) heavy theocratic tendencies, democracy less important, very close ties to Iran, hopefully stable state that can field a national army and avoid fragmentation/ethnic cleansing, praying to head off full blown civil war and not suck in its neighbors into wider regional conflict, trying to eliminate possibility of continuing existence of safe haven and staging ground for Salafist terrorist movements; to (e) is there anyway out of here?:

So far the United States has spent $275 billion on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this is just the tip of a very large iceberg. The costs of continuing operations run at $100 billion a year. When one adds in the long-term costs, including interest payments on war debt and disability benefits that we will owe to veterans for decades, the total cost of the war will exceed $1.3 trillion. [emphasis added]

And those are only the financial costs.

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