Stop the war (the other one)

Despite some conservative groups attempts to focus attention (and government resources) on the make-believe “War on Christmas”, which is absolutely absurd, there still happens to be real wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan the cost of which, in both human life and dollars, continues to rise.
The White House is set to request an additional $100 billion for war-spending bringing the total spending on this war to almost $500 billion. That is half a TRILLION dollars; $500,000,000,000. Here are some ideas on how we could have better spent this money:

  • Each day 24,000 people die of starvation. This war has been going on exactly 1001 days. In that time 24 million (24,000,000) people (18 million were children) have starved to death. We could have given each of them $20,833. Think about this. We could have ended starvation in the world or we could have invaded Iraq. Which do you think would have done more to improve how people feel about us? Which would have made us safer? Hey Christian busy-bodies, do you think you might have found something to protest now?
  • Or we could have given every single person in Iraq (pop. 26,095,283) $19,160 each.
    The average Iraqi salary for 1 year is about $600. Do you think nearly $20,000 might go a long way in making sure they like us and don’t attack us? Maybe we could have convinced them to overthrow Saddam themselves.
  • Or given every person in the Middle East (minus Israel – we give them enough) $2774. – My wife thinks that the heat may be a trigger for all of the unrest over there. I tend to think we could win their heart and minds (not to mention their pocketbooks) much easier if we gave them all TV’s with satellite programming. Let’s see: $285 for a room air-conditioner, $219 for a TV and $1000 or so for satellite and a year’s worth of programming makes $1504. After giving these to each person (not even every household) we would still have enough left over to give each Middle Easterner $1250.
  • What if we divided this money up to everyone in the developing world (I am defining this as all countries except The U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan)? We could give each person in the developing world (pop 5,134,373,609) $97. While this may not sound like a lot it would make quite a difference in the lives of those 5 billion people as a full 20% of the world’s population still gets by (or doesn’t) on less than $1 per day.
  • Or simply divide the money amongst every person on earth (pop 6,420,102,722) and they would each get $78.

Maybe we could have used the money at home. Surely we could have made ourselves safer here in much better ways. Up to this point you (the American taxpayer) has spent $195 million each day* of the war (note: this does not even include $150 billion in new appropriations). I cannot even imagine this figure, and what we could do with it. Luckily some kind folks at have done research to this effect. This is what we could do each day with $195 million.

  • Each day we could provide 3.97 million households with an emergency readiness kits.
  • Each day we could close the financing gap for interoperable communications in 41 small cities, 36 mid-sized cities, or 6 large cities so that federal, state and local first responders can talk to one another during an emergency.
  • Each day we could purchase 780 fire trucks for improving local emergency response capabilities.
  • Each day we could employ 4,919 fire fighters, 4,222 police patrol officers, or 7,052 paramedics and emergency medical technicians for one year each.
  • Each day we could double the federal budget for nuclear reactor safety and security inspections to ensure that these potential terrorist targets are adequately protected.
  • Each day we could pay for 1,101 additional border patrol agents to better guard our borders against potential terrorists.
  • Each day we could provide 9,750 port container inspection units to detect hazardous materials being trafficked into the country.
  • Each day we could provide 1,332 explosive trace detection portals for airport screening of passengers, as recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

Or maybe we could use the money to educate our children:

  • Each day we could cover the full cost of attendance for one year at a public college for more than 17,100 students.
  • Each day we could provide more than 79,000 needy college students with a Pell grant.
  • Each day we could enroll 27,000 more children in Head Start.
  • Each day we could employ 4,269 elementary school teachers or 4,027 secondary school teachers for one year.

The U.S. healthcare system could sure use some work, would this money help Americans feel safer, moe secure, and healthier?

  • Each day provide health insurance coverage to 344,500 working Americans to give them a break from the rising cost of coverage.
  • Each day provide health insurance coverage for one year to 380,900 uninsured children in America.
  • Each day employ 3,597 additional registered nurses for one year.
  • Each day immunize every person over 65 in the U.S. against influenza 4.6 times over.
  • Each day immunize every baby born in the U.S. last year against measles, mumps, and rubella 14.2 times.

Having a job tends to add a certain amount of security, what could we have done…

  • Each day One day in Iraq could provide unemployment benefits for almost 722,000 unemployed Americans for one week.
  • Each day fund Social Security retirement benefits for one day for over 6.75 million Americans.
  • Each day provide comprehensive safety and health training to 121,875 workers.
  • Each day pay for an increase of $3.34 per hour in the wages of every minimum wage worker in the country.
  • Each day provide paid sick leave to half a million workers for an entire year.

American’s could have had all of these things (and that was just 22 days worth for spending). We are now at 1001 days of war. How much more do you want?
* Based on Department of Defense obligation data for fiscal year 2005, the daily cost of the Iraq war was $195 million, as of June 30, 2005. This amount reflects costs as they are incurred, not the total amount appropriated or available to the Department of Defense. It does not include costs for Iraq reconstruction.
The World Gazetteer, The Hunger Site, The World Bank, The United Nations,


One response to this post.

  1. Wow! I am stunned.
    Frankly I am embarrassed that I had never done the math on the sheer enormity of the war spending.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when the citizens of the United States can so cavalierly disregard 500 billion dollars, myself included.

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