Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Price...So Far

It's now been five years since President Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

Whether or not you support the continuation of our efforts in Iraq, all Americans should be aware of the price we have paid so far.

Although I do not support a draft, the fact that we have an all-volunteer military means that many (if not most) Americans have no direct connection to anyone serving in this conflict. Furthermore, because taxes have actually been cut during this war, none of us are sacrificing financially for it either (at least not yet).

For these reasons, most of us can tune out Iraq most of the time.

An article in The Washington Post today concisely states the price we have paid thus far. I'll quote it directly:

Five years ago, 139 American troops had died in Iraq. Now that number is 4,064.

Five years ago, 542 American troops had been wounded in Iraq. Now that number is 23,395.

Five years ago, the national debt was $6.5 trillion. Now it's $9.3 trillion.

Five years ago, your average gallon of gas cost $1.44. Now it costs $3.57.

Five years ago, there were about 150,000 American troops in Iraq. Now there are slightly more.

I'm writing this not to make an argument for or against what we have done - only to provide some facts that everyone should consider when making their own judgment.

Is it worth it? ....Maybe. There is another side to this story that discusses the potential costs of increased instability in Iraq. The costs are real but almost impossible to quantify. Nevertheless, we should not ignore the things we can count.

You can find the source article (which I do not recommend) here.


Unknown said...

History will not look kindly on this war or on this presidency.

Jared said...

We'll see. There is still a chance that Iraq could persevere through the chaos and emerge in 5 or 10 years as a peaceful country that respects its peoples basic human rights.

I pray that this happens both for out national security and the Iraqi people.

If it does happen though, I also pray that history views it as happening in spite of the leadership of George W. Bush and not because of it.

If Iraq survives and eventually prospers, Bush will deserve a nod for opening the door. Hussein and his sons would probably have terrorized that nation for decades to come.

But his proud lack of intellectual curiousity, his initial arrogance in sending too few troops and prematurely declaring victory, and his maddening stubborness in the face of years of failure, and his total unwillingness to punish his peoples incompetence must be highlighted as the real lessons to be learned from his Presidency - far outweighing any claims of great "vision" or "political courage" that may be argued for his initial decision to invade and his perseverance throughout the rest of his presidency.