Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Irony of 911: George Bush Has Done More Harm to the U.S.A. Than Has Osama Bin Laden

I have been posting on this theme at least twice a year. But this time, doing the simple arithmetic paints a very ugly picture.

Now that he has a full half a dozen years to drive America to wreck and ruin, the truth is incontrovertible: George 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 Osama bin Laden.

First, contrast the bloodshed by al Qaeda in America six years ago today with the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq, beginning on 20 March 2003 through today.
OBL: Total Deaths - All 9/11 Attacks: 3,030
OBL: Total Injuries - All 9/11 Attacks: 2,337
GWB: Total US KIA in Iraq: 3,774
GWB: Total U.S. WIA in Iraq: 12,746

It's important to note that the figure that I use for WIA in Iraq is not the total wounded servicemen and service; the statistic I use indicates just those wounds which were so severe that the soldier was not returned to combat. Many of those, of course, are life-altering injuries (loss of sight, loss of limbs, brain, neurological and internal organ injuries).

What I failed to consider when I initially posted this graphic months ago, is that it can be argued - as I vehemently have argued - that massive American retaliation against Afghanistan was not only justified by the 9-11 attacks, but mandated. Therefore, our costs sustained in Operation Enduring Freedom are costs which are directly attributable to the 9-11 attacks against us. Therefore, they should be added to the lives lost in the crash of four airliners on 9-11-01.

In Afghanistan, we have lost 372 KIA in the six years beginning in the last couple of months of 2001. That comes to about 62 a year. So, adding Afghanistan's 372 to Osama's toll, we derive an al-Qaeda total of 3,402. One more thing: since the Republicans want to extend Bush's current splurge through 2008, it is only appropriate that we project past and present casualty trends into that future election year. So, counting our Afghanistan sacrifices, Bush is currently pushing through his break-even point with Osama bin Laden.
As you can see, adding 372 U.S. KIA Afghanistan to the al-Qaeda side of the ledger materially strengthens my contention that George Bush has cost America more in blood than has Osama bin Laden.

That's especially true when you remember economists predict that care for our wounded will amount to an unbelievable $2.5 trillion for generations to come.

On the financial ledger, the Department of Defense has not provided Congress with the individual costs of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) as opposed to Operation Iraqi Liberation. But the estimated disparity in costs is apparent to us, as a glimpse at the chart to the right reveals.

The financial losses due to the four airliners' attacks on 9-11, estimated up to $ 40 billion, do not begin to make up the difference. (Costs of economic recovery from 9-11, are generally accepted as being less than those of Katrina.)

Let's add to the ledger, that as a result of Bush's reckless adventure in Iraq, our military is stretched to the breaking point. Finally, of penultimate importance to our global war on terror, would be an international consensus on how to wage it. Al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on New York and Washington gave us an overwhelming groundswell of sympathy throughout the world. By the time Bush mobilized for his unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Iraq 4½ years ago, he had squandered that foundation of support. In fact, Bush's war was the first war in history to garner world-wide demonstrations against it on the day before his invasion of Iraq began.

It is George W. Bush, who has put the biggest hurt on Americans, in squandering our blood, our economic resources, our military assets, and our international esteem.