George Bush Has Put a Bigger Hurt on America than Has Osama bin Laden
I have been posting on this theme at least twice a year for years. And every year, doing the simple arithmetic paints an increasingly uglier picture.
Now that George Bush has had three quarters of a decade to drive America to I-wreck and I-ruin, the truth is incontrovertible: Bush's illegal, un-provoked, unnecessary, and largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq has cost our nation more in blood and treasure than has Osama bin Laden.
Contrast the bloodshed caused by al Qaeda in America seven and a half years ago with the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq, beginning five years ago tonight.
OBL: Total Deaths - All 9/11 Attacks: 3,030
OBL: Total Injuries - All 9/11 Attacks: 2,337
GWB: Total US KIA in Iraq: 3,990
GWB: Total U.S. WIA in Iraq: 13,138
What I realized when I last posted on this theme on 11 September 2007, was that it can be argued - as I vehemently have argued - that a massive American retaliation against Afghanistan was not only justified by the 9-11 attacks, but was mandated. Thus, our costs sustained in Operation Enduring Freedom are expenses (in blood and treasure) which are directly attributable to the 9-11 attacks against us. Accordingly these sacrifices sustained in Afghanistan can be charged to bin Laden. I made an effort to account for those losses but found that they didn't materially change the balance in this ledger.
I also dealt with economic costs born by Americans as a result of the 9/11 attacks vis-a-vis the self-inflicted squandering of resources due to our invading and occupying Iraq. Further discussion of economic costs on my part would be redundant, given the recent authoritative work of Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes. Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize-winning economic professor at Columbia and Bilmes is at Harvard. They have co-authored a monograph with the self-explanatory title, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of The Iraq Conflict. Stiglitz and Bilmes say of Iraq that
. . . the big picture is that, by our most conservative estimates, this war has cost an almost unimaginable $3 trillion. A more realistic estimate, however, is closer to $5 trillion once you include all the downstream "off budget costs" of long-term veteran benefits and treatment, the costs of restoring the now depleted military to its pre-war strength, the considerable costs of actually withdrawing from Iraq and repositioning forces elsewhere in the region.I'm going to take their word for it. The evidence is conclusive and the jury's verdict is in.
It is George W. Bush who has put the biggest hurt on Americans by squandering our blood, our economic resources, our military assets, and our international esteem on this unnecessary, ruinous and endless