On Sept. 10, 2002, I asked 35
questions regarding war with Iraq. The war resolution passed on Oct. 16,
2002. Now today, as some of my colleagues try to reestablish credentials regarding
spending restraint, I want to call attention to my 18th question from six years
"Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a $100 billion war against
Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky
American economy? How about an estimated 30-year occupation of Iraq that some
have deemed necessary to 'build democracy' there?"
Many scoffed at my "radical" predictions at the time, regarding them
as hyperbole. Six years later, I am forced to admit that I was wrong. My "radical"
predictions were in fact, not "radical" enough.
I warned of a draining 30-year occupation. Now, politicians glibly talk about
a 100-year occupation as if it is no big deal. On cost, according to estimates
from the Congressional Research Service, we have already burned through around
$550 billion in Iraq, at a rate of about $2 billion per week. Economist Joseph
Stiglitz's estimates are even higher, at $12 billion a month. It is a total
price tag quickly heading into the trillions, if we don't stop bombing and rebuilding
bridges in Iraq that lead us nowhere but bankruptcy! Bridges in this country
are crumbling, along with our economy, while some howl about earmarks. Earmarks
are a drop in the bucket compared to war and occupation.
Yes, I was wrong about Iraq. I knew it would be bad. I didn't know it
would be this bad.
The American people deserve better. Being asked to endorse such a farce is
beyond insulting. Clearly, the rosy predictions of the neoconservatives from
before the war are not coming true. Far from it! With a straight face, one official
estimated the TOTAL cost of reconstruction in Iraq would be just $1.7 billion.
Turns out that we spend more than that in ONE WEEK. Our friends are not pitching
in to cover the cost. Expenses are not being covered by oil from a grateful
and liberated Iraqi people. Rather, big corporate interests are benefiting,
the price of oil has more than quadrupled, and the American economy is on its
knees and sinking fast.
No one predicted the exact course of this war before it started. But to continue
to listen to the foreign policy advice of those that were the MOST off-base
will only lead to more foreign policy disasters. We need to keep this in mind
as we think about Russia, Iran, Cuba, and other countries. Keep in mind –
the doomsday predictions on the Iraq War from six years ago sound like a cakewalk
today. What leaders in the administration had predicted reads like a fairy tale.
Ask yourself, when listening to the same foreign policy "experts"
explaining situations around the world and suggesting policy positions: In light
of the facts of today, and the predictions of yesterday, how expert have they
shown themselves to be?
2605 to sunset authorization for the use of force in Iraq is the first step
to stopping this bloody war, and the consequent bleeding of our treasuries.
Serious fiscal conservatives will support it, as will those who have been paying
attention to foreign policy predictions and reality.