Putting war dollars in perspective


I’ve been reading that a war (and aftermath) in Iraq is likely to cost the U.S. around 100 billion dollars. Yes, BILLION.

Let’s look at what this really means.

There are about 290 million people living the U.S. currently.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 18.9% of our population is between the age of 5 and 18… which means there are approximately 54 million at ‘school age’ by my estimation.

What would 100 billion dollars buy for our schools and the kids that attend them?

At about $1850 per kid, that’d easily buy brand new school uniforms (for the schools that require it), science textbooks that aren’t from last century along with some new lab equipment, bathrooms that are actually safe to use, and clearly much, much more.

What if even one-quarter of that 100 billion dollars were invested in teacher salaries, encouraging top college graduates to go into something that actually helps our society instead of pushing paper around for the fat cats?

Let’s assume a student-teacher ratio of 30-1 (though that could certainly use some improving, too). That’s an additional $27,750 per teacher per year.
I bet that’d help attract more of the best and brightest, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I know, it’s only our country’s future that we’re talking about though…

Of course, 100 billion dollars could be put to other fine uses, too.

Subsidized health care. Funding for efficient and safe public transportation. Increased research into chronic and painful diseases. Hiring and training of community mentors (not just policemen) in troubled areas. College scholarships for poor but deserving kids of ALL ethnicities.

Call me a Liberal (oh no, I said the L word!) or even a traitor but I just can’t help but think almost anything would be a better use of 100 billion dollars than destroying and then trying to rebuild a country whose dictator may or may not be an immediate threat to us.

Sure, you can insist that it isn’t about oil, that it isn’t about selfish American interests. And I’d be happy to mention half-a-dozen equally (or more) brutal dictators in Africa that you and George Bush probably haven’t ever heard of, much less planned a war against. Of course, bringing up North Korea is just too obvious, isn’t it?

And for you folks who suggest that I just don’t care about our country’s security… let me pose this thought to you:

Can you imagine how far 100 billion dollars would go towards better securing our borders… buying some REAL security at our airports and shipping docks, researching antidotes to biowarfare, making sure our firefighters and ambulances actually have modern equipment, and so forth?

Shouldn’t safety and security begin at home?

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