Wednesday May 22, 2013
Op Ed: 3 to 5 Trillion Dollars For Bush`s War Costs?By Henry Clay Ruark for Salem-News.com
Congress is now told 'Totally Unsustainable' costs seen are impeachable in this maladministration.
(BEND, Ore.) - Congressional hearing testimony now on public record demonstrates totally unsustainable costs of Bush’s preemptive war on Iraq and its accompanying conflict in Afghanistan at THREE to FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS -- and counting.
One week’s documented disastrous expenditures now run at least $3,5 BILLION, That’s HALF A BILLION --$500 million dollars-- every day, week in, week, out -- and still counting.
Bush administration war-costs estimates ranged from $60 billion to $200 billion --and that last figure got Bush economic advisor Larry Lindsey fired, way back in 2002, for even suggesting something so ludicrous.
Given the low-estimate at the Congressional hearing --THREE TRILLION DOLLARS-- by Nobel-winner economist Joseph Stigiitz --the Bush cabal was "at least $2,940,000,000 off in its calculations” even using their low-estimate of "only $60 billion".
Both Stiglitz and Robert Hormats, vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International, told the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, that "large opportunities were lost because of the money poured into the war."
"For a fraction of the cost of this war," Stiglitx testified, "we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more."
That Bush low-bid was armored and defended by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in Congressional testimony then, stating that much of the cost could be recovered from Iraqi oil revenues, "To assume we’re going to pay for it all is just wrong", he assured Congress. The country was floating on "a sea of oil", he declared --obviously counting on getting some, somehow.
Continuing the testimony Thursday, Hormats cited Committee findings showing that daily war-costs would enable enrollment of any additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year or assist in covering costs of college for 160,000 low-income students or furnish nearly 11,000 border patrol officers or 14,000 police personnel.
"It’s for the troops", we are told over and over again by the Bush cabal as they seek rapidly-recurring "emergency appropriations" to continue both conflicts.
BUT probing examination and documented study by highly skilled, authoritative and award-winning economists and others now show, in Congressional testimony and widely-published other materials, that ONLY TEN PERCENT --$350 million per week-- actually "goes to pay and benefits for uniformed military personnel."
That’s ONE-FOURTH of the weekly $1,4 BILLION shelled out (no pun !) to war contractors covering every kind and type of materiel “from bullets to bombers”.
Then, too, there’s that extremely disturbing and desperate reflection of how stretched-and-thin our armed forces have really become: "...nearly $100 million per week going just to the armed cohort of private-contractor employees operating there."
We are not permitted to know precisely how many merciless mercenaries now make up our 'shadow army' provided by private contractors like Blackwater and Triple Canopy.
But many of those warriors --with activities uncomplicated by the same regulations and restrictions enforced on our own troops-- make much more in pay and benefits than do our GI’s in any force.
In materials now Internet-available, it is stated that "individuals employed by these private firms make up to TEN TIMES what many U.S. enlisted personnel make, or as much as $7,500 per week."
"If even one-tenth of the 5,000 to 6,000 armed contract employees in Iraq make that much, we are talking about at least $40 million per week."
The same report then states: "If the rest then make $1,000 per week --an extremely conservative estimate-- then we have nearly $100 million PER WEEK going just to the armed cohort of private-contract employees operating there."
But then comes the clincher: Where the other $3 billion per week goes, after these expenditures of about $650 million weekly are spent.
Surely you guessed, by now: To "goods and services, from tanks and fighter planes to fuel and food" -- supplied by "Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown and Root." Halliburton was the longtime employer of Vice President Cheney.
Stiglitz pointed out that about 40 percent of 700,000 Gulf War troops have become eligible for benefits, for a war lasting only ONE MONTH. He stated that the obligation to provide health care and disability benefits for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan would surely be devastatingly more costly since these conflicts have already run for FIVE YEARS --and all such costs are steadily rising.
"Imagine then", he said, "what a war --that will almost surely involve more than 2 million troops and will more than six or seven years-- will cost. Already we are seeing large numbers of returning veterans showing up at V.A. hospitals for treatment, large numbers applying for disability and large numbers with severe psychological problems."
Because the Bush administration had already committed huge federal budget deficits when we went to war, Stiglitz pointed out, and then slashed taxes --the ONLY time isuch action has ever been taken while the nation is at war-- these costs have in effect been entirely financed by deficits.
The U.S. national debt increased by around &2.5 TRILLION since the war began, Stiglitz pointed out, emphasizing that "almost $1 TRILLION is due directly to the war itself." By 2017, he estimated, the national debt will have increased because of the war to some $2 TRILLION DOLLARS.
This joint key Congressional committee hearing is now seen in Washington and across the nation as a strong and very threatening addition of basic information not available previously, perhaps leading to heavy further pressures for impeachment proceedings soon.
Key Congressional figures are known to be discussing public statements which may seek one or more charges against the President based on evidences of continuing maladministration seen as bordering on impeachment level, added to a long list already in readiness.
"Last summer, President Bush told the American people that ‘the American economy is the envy of the world. The fundamentals of our economy are strong ... Job creation is strong. Real after-tax wages are on the rise. Inflation is low’. None of this was exactly true then. It is certainly not true now."
What an unfortunate statement ! --all too reminiscent of another, from a fallen corporate tycoon now deceased: "The underlying fundamentals of our business are very strong." That was Enron founder Ken Lay, six weeks before bankruptcy.
Reader’s Note: Quotes are shortened or summarized from the original; verbatim statements and identification of sources available on request. Internet-published and on-file materials documenting all points here include: 1. "The $2 Trillion Nightmare"; Bob Herbert; nytimes.com/2008/03/04/opinion/04herbert.html...
2. "Is Bush to Blame for the Economy ?"; Dean Baker; The American Prospect; alternet.org/module/printversion/77868
3. "War Is Hell, But What The Hell Does It Cost ?"; William D. Hartung, Director, Arms and Security Initiative, New American Foundation; www.tomdispatch.com/post/174902/william_hartung_t...
The links are for your convenient "see with your own eyes" exploration for your own evaluation and comparison with how I read these major sources in this report.
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