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> Cost of Iraq War, Are we wasting too much resources?
RedCedar
post Mar 6 2006, 03:45 AM
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I thought of this thread after reading what John Murtha said on Meet the Press.

QUOTE
“The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaida,” Murtha said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” political talk show. “And I talked to a top-level commander the other day and he said China wants us there also. Why? Because we’re depleting our resources ... our troop resources and our fiscal resources.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10774136/

QUOTE
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Thursday it will ask Congress for $120 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If approved by Congress, the war money would push spending related to the wars toward a staggering half-trillion dollars.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11145948/

The cost is becoming outrageous, not just in lives but in military strength and position and the financial burden.

Is this war worth it any more?

Should we pull out ASAP? If not, what would be lost?

Are we even in a position where we can afford this war any more?




This post has been edited by RedCedar: Mar 6 2006, 03:52 AM
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Ted
post Mar 6 2006, 02:06 PM
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Is this war worth it any more?
It has always been “worth it” since not doing it could have allowed for WMD to reach the US and would have left a madman in the midst of ½ the worlds oil. This could have cost much more.

Should we pull out ASAP? If not, what would be lost?Pull out as quickly as possible but not before we get the Iraqi government stable and capable of taking over.

Are we even in a position where we can afford this war any more?

War is always a drain on resources but as a % of GDP this war is far less costly than Korea and Vietnam. Both wars that were run badly and LOST.

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TruthMarch
post Mar 6 2006, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE
Is this war worth it any more?
Should we pull out ASAP? If not, what would be lost?
Are we even in a position where we can afford this war any more?
\
No of course it's not worth it anymore and it never really was. IF you go along with the public consumption version of events. When the reason for war is proven false, then it immediately becomes "not worth it".
Again, if you go along with the public consumption version of events, then pullout is a necessity, so yes the US should 'pull out'. If not, more dead Americans will be lost.
It's funny. Over a trillion dollars and maybe 2 trillion...yes that's too much and no country can afford that. Unless payment funds are gains from illicit activities.
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Trouble
post Mar 6 2006, 04:30 PM
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QUOTE
Is this war worth it any more?


With regards to worth that is a highly subjective question depending on who you ask. Personally any war that is not tied to a commodity ie real things should not be initiated.

QUOTE
Should we pull out ASAP? If not, what would be lost?


I would pull out ASAP. To stay would ignite further opposition not to mention extend the costs.

QUOTE
Are we even in a position where we can afford this war any more?
*



The financial community regularly discusses this same question. Technically without a gold-based backing, this war can be prolonged indefinitely so long as

a ) a printing press exists
b ) the debts accumulated will be picked up by foreigners willing to purchase debt in the form of bonds and treasuries.

What this means is that we can no longer assume the war ends when the 'money runs out' because the money is brought into being artifically.
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Vermillion
post Mar 6 2006, 04:56 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Mar 6 2006, 02:06 PM)
It has always been “worth it”  since not doing it could have allowed for WMD to reach the US and would have left a madman in the midst of ½ the worlds oil.  This could have cost much more.


Yes, well without taking ANOTHER thread off this tangent, suffice to say that the threat of Iraqi WMD reaching the US is based on a great many unsubstantiated 'IFs'. Even the Bush Jr. administration is not using that line anymore.

As for the madman amidst 1/2 the world's oil, there had been the same madman in the same place for the previous 20 years. Frankly, Iraq provided a 'third' in OPEC, making it that much harder for them to get any political consensus. Again, before e can consider this a specific threat there are a long list of unsubstantiated 'IFs'.

QUOTE
Pull out as quickly as possible but not before we get the Iraqi government stable and capable of taking over. 


That is almost truistic,, but as a plan it ignores the very real and growing possibility that, just as ended up happening in Vietnam, the local government cannot stabilise, govern and keep the peace. If that is the case the resulting civil war will be MUCH worse for the US than having Hussein in power...

QUOTE
War is always a drain on resources but as a % of GDP this war is far less costly than Korea and Vietnam.  Both wars that were run badly and LOST.


Vietnam was run badly and lost Korea was run bdly at first, then quite well for a while, and was essentially a tie.

However in real dollars, the Iraq war has cost an enormous amount. The known cost listed in the articles above is vast, but there are a lot of 'undeclared' costs as well, which should probably be added to this tally. For example, life insurance payments from the US Military to the families if the war dead in Iraq alone will equal over $12 billion dollars.

If we take year per year, in real dollars, the cost so far is slightly less than the Korean war, however keep in mind that at the war's peak the US had half a million men in Korea.

Year per year, the Iraq war so far exceeds the annual spending on Vietnam, however this is a bit deceptive, as costs in the first few years of Vietnam were low, bringing down the average. If we take the costs to the US during the 'hottest' years, then in Real dollars Iraq is costing about the same as vietnam or possibly marginally less.


However, the US economy is not in the best shape to take this kind of beating. In 1950 the US was still enjoyoing a vast post-war boom. The costs of the war do not seem to have an end in sight, and the US is involved in HEAVY deficit financing, with a substantial amount of this borrowing being picked up by China. Thus in order to (supposedly) protect the US militarily, it is seriously endangering it economically. The dollar is down heavily, and with more expenditures to come, with few to no TANGIBLE benefits from the Iraq war so far, it is pretty easy to state that SO FAR it has not been worth it at all.

Now of course, the situation is not over. If Iraq develops a stable, solid, US-friendly regime in the near future, then the vast costs of the war may prove to have some mitigating value. If, as is far more likely, Iraq descends into Civil war, or an non-US-friendly government takes over, then the US will be in a WORSE situation than if it had not intervened, and half a trillion in the hole...

Add to that, the hawks have lost both ways. Either there were no WMD in Iraq, in which case all this money has been spent on a phantom threat, OR there were WMD in Iraq and they have been shipped out of the country to parts and organisations unknown, in whaich case the threat to the US is far greater than it was previously.



In other words, it will take a massive stroke of good fortune to make this war anywhere even close to 'worth it'

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Ted
post Mar 6 2006, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE
Vermillion
As for the madman amidst 1/2 the world's oil, there had been the same madman in the same place for the previous 20 years. Frankly, Iraq provided a 'third' in OPEC, making it that much harder for them to get any political consensus. Again, before e can consider this a specific threat there are a long list of unsubstantiated 'IFs'.


Liberals use this line of logic a lot. It goes like this…… He was a friend …..We supported…..He was there……. Etc 20 years ago as if that has any real relevance on current circumstances.

Forgetting of course that this was BEFORE he invaded a neighbor, who just happened to be an ally and a major oil supplier. He also threatened Saudi Arabia – THE major oil supplier. He used WMD to kill thousands of people, got caught with nukes and tons of WMD etc. Not to mention UN Resolutions after being kicked out of Kuwait, and tons of "missing" WMD.

So yes Vermillion as long as we just forget the last 15 years he is just a peachy guy. Of course to do so would be quite insane.



QUOTE
That is almost truistic,, but as a plan it ignores the very real and growing possibility that, just as ended up happening in Vietnam, the local government cannot stabilise, govern and keep the peace


We NEVER controlled North Vietnam and the situation is quite different. I was against that war and way it was run. The idiot LBJ could never decide to either do it right (invade the North) or get out. In Iraq we and the elected Iraqi government control the country. If we give this democracy a chance to succeed it WILL.

Cost of War: Thus Gulf war would have to equal 76.1 X 12= 913 billion to = Vietnam where by the way we lost.


Also the “cost” of containment could be more than the cost of war.



Many argue that the Iraqi regime is unlikely to use, or allow others to
use, its weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. Yet even a small
probability that “containment” allows greater development or spread of these
weapons significantly raises the costs of a containment strategy.
For example, suppose that the current Iraqi regime raises the
probability of a terrorist attack of the same magnitude as 9/11 by 5 percent
per year (one additional attack every 20 years). If the direct economic losses
inflicted by such an attack are $50 billion,
12
then the cost of containment
rises to $430 billion.
13
It is higher still if the prospective attack involves
greater loss of life, as might occur with nuclear or biological weapons.
Factoring in the indirect costs of another 9/11 event – in the form of
greater security expenditures on the domestic front and more disruption to
daily life – substantially raises the estimated cost of containment. According
to a careful study, the U.S. cost of the extra homeland security precautions
triggered by 9/11 exceeds $80 billion per year.
14
If a policy of containing
Iraq raises the cost of homeland security by even a fraction of this amount,
say $10 billion per year, then the present value cost of containment rises by
$200 billion. In total, our estimated U.S. cost of containment becomes $630
billion.
http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:X2NLF...us&ct=clnk&cd=2

This post has been edited by Ted: Mar 6 2006, 06:28 PM
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Vermillion
post Mar 6 2006, 06:50 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Mar 6 2006, 06:27 PM)
Liberals use this line of logic a lot.  It goes like this…… He was a friend …..We supported…..He was there…….  Etc 20 years ago as if that has any real relevance on current circumstances. 

Forgetting of course that this was BEFORE he invaded a neighbor, who just happened to be an ally and a major oil supplier.  He also threatened Saudi Arabia – THE major oil supplier.  He used WMD to kill thousands of people, got caught with nukes and tons of WMD etc.  Not to mention UN Resolutions after being kicked out of Kuwait, and tons of "missing" WMD.


And the far right uses this line of logic a lot. It goes like this... he attacked Kuwait, and threatened Saudi Arabia! He used WMD in the 1980s... He was there being violent... Ect.

Forgetting of course that the US ALREADY invaded Iraq, freed Kuwait, removed the threat to Saudi and destroyed his military.

So yes Ted, just as long as we forget the last 15 years those arguments carry a LOT of weight. Of course that would be quite insane...


QUOTE
We NEVER controlled North Vietnam and the situation is quite different.


I'm not talking about North Vietnam. The Us DID control the south and they spent billions of dollars and years of time training and equipping the ARVN and making sure the local government was prepared to take over and govern, They even forced South Vietnam to hold sham elections, In the end it made no difference, the South Vietnamese government did not have the cpacity to govern or maintain the peace, and though on paper they were much stronger than the NVA army which attacked after the US fled, they did not even put up a serious effort.

QUOTE
In Iraq we and the elected Iraqi government control the country.  If we give this democracy a chance to succeed it WILL.


Firstly, the US and the elected government do not even come close to controlling the country. Firstly, parts of it have been handed over to sectarian militias who kep the peace, though with no loyalty to the central government. Secondly, those areas under the 'control' of the Iraqi government are a security shambles. They cannot maintain order, or keep the peace, and their 'pilice and 'army' are a joke, even those units supposed to be combat ready (and there are very few) never leave their barracks.

Secondly, even if this were NOT true, which it is, it does not matter. Without the capacity to govern effectively, the government is useless. The Shia and Sunni factions ignore the government and listen to their eligious leaders. Occasionally those leaders cooperate with the government, most of the time they do not, but even if they do it is on a case by case basis only.

Despite your emphatic ststement above, you Ted cannot will success in Iraq, and at the moment the story has been of a disintigrating failure. Have you been reading the papers the last few days? The extremists see the failure of the Iraqi government to perform as well, and are stepping up. The blood is in the water.

Your plattitudes about how they 'WILL' succeed are irelevant without evidence, and all the evidence says the opposite.
Cost of War: Thus Gulf war would have to equal 76.1 X 12= 913 billion to = Vietnam where by the way we lost.


QUOTE
Many argue that the Iraqi regime is unlikely to use, or allow others to
use, its weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. Yet even a small
probability that “containment” allows greater development or spread of these
weapons significantly raises the costs of a containment strategy.


That is one of the silliest arguments I have ever heard. You are reducing it to a statistical maths problem, where the numbers are nothing but a guess, without actual relevance to the situation on the ground?

The scenario posits attacks, REPEATED attacks, using potential nuclear weapons! Where on earth did that fiction come from?

Besides, you yourself Ted keep claiming that Iraq HAD WMD, though that is far from certain) but shipped them of to parts unknown. Thus the direct costs of the war in Iraq have made the US substantially LESS safe, as now organisations unknown have phantom WMDs in their hands that they did NOT earlier.

According to YOUR arguments, the US has contained nothing, they have created a situation where:
- International terrorism has rearmed, regrouped and is stronger than before,
- The US has most of its deployable forces committed and taking casualties in Iraq
- WMDs previously secure are now floating around out there, location unknown, but according to YOU, likely i the hands of terrorists planning to use them against the US
- Al Qaida, which never existed in Iraq, now has a fruitful recruiting and arming ground there where they never had one before;
- And this created this massively dangerous situation by spending $350-odd billion dollars.


So much for the war being 'worth it'.




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Ted
post Mar 6 2006, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE
Vermillion
And the far right uses this line of logic a lot. It goes like this... he attacked Kuwait, and threatened Saudi Arabia! He used WMD in the 1980s... He was there being violent... Ect.
Forgetting of course that the US ALREADY invaded Iraq, freed Kuwait, removed the threat to Saudi and destroyed his military.

Ya right as long as we forget the obstruction of the inspectors, non compliance to a single Resolution, the testimony of escaped Iraqi officials and all the UN testimony………. We are OK. This is why we invaded and it was worth doing.

Yes we invaded Iraq but surly not because liberals thought it was a good idea. Remember they were against the first invasion as well. He had nothing ….. remember.



QUOTE
So much for the war being 'worth it'.


Certainly allowing the WMD to leave the country was a disaster. If they had gone to AQ we would have been attacked by now IMO. More likely they went to a state – like Syria (or Russia) where the risk of using them or passing them may be un acceptable. I do agree that it was foolish to invade until we knew exactly where the WMD was.

I believe the containment numbers are realistic. Iraq would have been a continuous threat to the US and the oil in the region.

But IMO the chance that the WMD would end up in the hands of terrorists was much higher with Saddam in power.
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Lawnmower Man
post Mar 10 2006, 07:13 AM
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QUOTE(RedCedar @ Mar 5 2006, 09:45 PM)
The cost is becoming outrageous, not just in lives but in military strength and position and the financial burden.

Hahahaha! We lose 60k+ men in Vietnam, and 3% of that in Iraq, and you call that an "outrageous [cost]...in lives"?? What would be a "safe" war to you? 3 casualties?

Is this war worth it any more?
It's worth just as much as when we started, which was a lot.

Should we pull out ASAP? If not, what would be lost?
Pulling out would be stupid, not to mention it just isn't going to happen.

Are we even in a position where we can afford this war any more?
We're in a position where we can't afford to quit the war. The cynics are correct. This war is about oil. The cynics are incorrect. This war is about much more than oil. The Iraq war is one of the most brilliant geopolitical manuevers in modern history, if not the most brilliant. It is like a beautiful chess move in which a knight threatens 3 valuable pieces while putting the king in check. But remember that I'm talking about this as much from Bush's perspective as from an American one.

Point 1: Saddam was about to redenominate Iraqi oil contracts in Euros, rather than USD. What does that mean? It means that demand for USD, generated by oil sales of one of the largest oil producers in the Middle East, would suddenly decline, with a subsequent rise in popularity of the Euro. No wonder France and Germany were so opposed! No wonder the UK was so happy to join up! I'm sure the London banks, like many banks around the world, hold many many US dollars and like their value to hold. A weaker USD is not necessarily an absolutely bad thing, but that's a whole different topic. Losing that aspect of control over oil contracts, on the other hand...that's intolerable. I guarantee you that had Saddam succeeded, it would have had a visible impact on the US economy.

Point 2: Second largest known proven reserves in the world. Need I say more? Right now those reserves are being carefully guarded by Humvees and M1-A1s, not to mention a bunch of badass US Marines. The "oil weapon" that Saddam threatened has now been wrested from his control, and guess what? It's also been wrested from the control of Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, and anybody else that might try to use it against us (not that half of those countries would even want to). You don't want to sell us oil? That's ok, I'm sure the grateful Iraqis would be more than happy to make up the difference, right? Let's just send the 4th Armor Division over to Baghdad for a little parade, ok? If you're liberal and you like to drive your Lincoln Navigator, you should thank Bush.

Point 3: Saddam was evil. C'mon, even the most die-hard Bush-hater can't deny that. Yes, we created Saddam; but despite that, he was the guy everyone loved to hate. Getting rid of him has to count for something, no?? It's sad how quick the Iraqis are to bite the hand that feeds them, though. I'd like to have a "Saddam Guest-President Day" in Iraq and see how grateful they are after that.

Point 4: Iraq sits right smack dab in the middle of the Middle East. Want to protect Israel? Check. Want to have bases bordering Iran? Check. Want guaranteed access to the Persian Gulf region, complete with naval bases for resupply? Check. Want to be in Syria's backyard? Check. Strategically, the US owns Iraq. Might as well raise an American flag over Baghdad. Yes, there is a token gov't there, but anyone who pretends that American's aren't pulling the strings needs to wake up and smell the Basra oil fields. Iraq is the biggest, most important US foreign military base in the world right now. Check and mate.

Point 5: We are ticking off every radical Muslim in the world. What? That's not a benefit?!? Hmm...maybe you need to re-read 1984. Economic production is stimulated by conflict. Conflict is incited by hatred. And hatred leads to the Dark Side. Oh, wait...strike that last part. War is profitable as hell, and we are profiting! Well, not all of us, of course. It sucks to be at the bottom, like always. But if you are in the military/industrial complex, or own part of it, you should be going "cha-ching! cha-ching! cha-ching!". And if you're not, call your broker and buy as many shares of Halliburton and KBR as you can afford. Otherwise, don't come crying to me that you're still poor.

What? You think that Iraq is revenge for 9/11? Ha! Tell me, how did a passenger airline moving at a stately sub-mach velocity manage to reach the airspace over the Pentagon completely unchallenged? Is our defense so lacksadaisical that we didn't even prepare a contingency plan for the airspace over the Pentagon and the White House to be protected?!?!? No, of course not. That's what Andrews Air Force base and the Air National Guard wing stationed there are for. They should have scrambled in five minutes. They could have had a cup of coffee and read the morning newspaper by the time the flight hit the Pentagon...if they had been following Standard Operating Procedures. But for some reason (or multiple reasons, if you believe every story given), they were not. They weren't in the air. At all. The one ANG wing given the duty of security of the airspace over the nation's capital was completely derelict in their duty!! Is that because we have incompetent airmen over at Andrews? Not at all. I have utter faith in those airmen. The only plausible explanation is that they were ordered to stand down. Yes. STAND DOWN.

We hadn't had a war in a decade. We needed a war. We spent billions on the biggest, baddest military in the world, and nowhere to use it. How do you continue to justify spending? Simple. Start a war that never ends, with an enemy that can never be caught or eliminated. You start a War on Terror. And the best way to start it? Sacrifice 5,000 of America's finest in a gesture that would garner world sympathy and eliminate all opposition to such a global war. Of course, this is also a necessary first step in invading Iraq.

Now, the trick is that Muslim extremists play a dual role (which is the highlight of brilliant strategy). They play the enemy in the War on Terror. But covertly, they are our shock troops in a proxy war against everyone from Russia to Yugoslavia to India to Europe. Do we really want to go to war with Iran? Of course not. Iran is one of the most reliable incubators of Muslim terrorists the world over. We've been funding Iranian extremists long before the Iran-Contra affair. Look at Israel. We've been funding both sides of that play for decades. Sending Clinton to negotiate peace was just a beautiful publicity stunt to divert attention from the fact that we give Israel F-16s and we give the PLO guns and explosives. War profits.

In Afghanistan, we called the Mujahideen "freedom fighters", because they were fighting the Russians. After 9/11, we called them "terrorists", because they sided with the Taliban. Same guys, same guns. Same American training and weapons. Roles redefined. That's life when you're in the business of making war...out of thin air.

Point 6: He tried to kill my dad. Ok, not my dad, but GW's. Hey, name anyone from Texas that wouldn't do the same!

Point 7: Democratic reform in the Middle East. Gotta keep those oil sheiks on their toes. If they get too comfortable they are harder to control. With democracy demonstrations and demands for elections, they are far too busy to organize and create a unified Oil Weapon (no matter how much they hate us for supporting Israel). Also, democracy spreading like wildfire plays well back home. And eventually, when oil is no longer the strategic energy source it is today, having pro-Western democracies in the Middle East will be a Good Thing™.

Now, how can anyone say that the Iraq was nothing less than total brilliance? Is it really breaking our bank? Of course not. Where is all that money getting spent? Right here in our economy, of course. Yes, we're floating more debt, but we can afford to, because of military fiat. As long as we remain the sole superpower, the US gov't will remain the most reliable debtor in the world, which makes it the gold standard for investment. Want to buy an investment from someone that will never default on debt? Buy US Treasury bonds. It's like buying bricks of platinum, only better. Maybe the USD will dip. Makes our debt cheaper, so we can buy it back. Makes exports more competitive. Helps our trade balance. Maybe the USD will go back up. Gives us more buying power. Either way, we win, and I assure you that the economists in Washington milk the world economy for all its worth when the USD swings in either direction.

What about the 2k+ men and women who gave their lives? They deserve the highest respect for making the ultimate sacrifice, even though some of them don't believe whole-heartedly in this mission. But I think it's clear that if you live in America, it's pretty foolish to look at the Iraq War as anything but a huge win for your bottom line. Let's not be so ashamed about the way this game is played and give a hearty "Go Troops!!" to our men and women in uniform.

This post has been edited by Lawnmower Man: Mar 10 2006, 07:17 AM
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