Update: October, 2010 Study: Wars could cost $4 trillion to $6 trillion - Stripes Central Joseph Stiglitz, who received the 2000 Nobel Prize for Economics, and Linda Bilmes, a public policy professor at Harvard University, said the number of veterans seeking post-combat medical care and the cost of treating those individuals is about 30 percent higher than they initially estimated.
Let's assume that Americans wanted to invest $3 trillion in Iraq. People like you wanted to invest $10,000 in Iraq, along with another $10,000 for your wife, and $10,000 for each of your children. You were willing to take this money out of your retirement, or out of your children's college fund, to invest in Iraq. You really wanted to help Iraq.
Would you have spent this money on bombs to blow up Iraqi neighborhoods? Or would you have invested that money in a different way?
Let's get some historical perspective.
Al-queda is not the first group of terrorists Americans have had to deal with. President Thomas Jefferson dealt with terrorists during his administration. Those terrorists were called "Indians." Not all Americans treated all Indians in a consistently Christian manner, and not all Indians were terrorists, but many Indians attacked not only American settlers, but other Indians as well. In 1779, Jefferson explained to Sir Guy Carleton, the Governor of Canada:
"The known rule of warfare of the Indian Savages is an indiscriminate butchery of men, women and children."
This is an echo of the Declaration of Independence, which said King George III
has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions
Jefferson and America's Founding Fathers knew how to deal with terrorists from false religions. Jefferson compiled a collection of his favorite teachings of Jesus Christ in order to civilize the Indians. Congress appropriated funds to various missionary agencies to Christianize the heathen. This was good foreign policy.
Kevin Craig opposes coercing taxpayers into funding missionary agencies, but the direction of America's Founding Fathers is a direction we must follow today.
The Bush administration initially estimated that the cost to taxpayers of rebuilding Iraq after a U.S. invasion would be only $1.7 billion. After the postwar costs to U.S. taxpayers soared over $100 billion, the Bush team "fixed" the problem by removing all traces of the earlier low estimate from government web pages. —James Bovard, "Bush's Top Ten Farces"
Estimates of the total cost of our war against Iraq vary widely. When this webpage was first being written (2005) the estimate was in the neighborhood of $300 Billion. In 2008 we updated this page. Today the total cost is placed at $3 Trillion.
What would Thomas Jefferson and America's Founding Fathers have done with 300 billion dollars (besides return it to taxpayers)? What could be done with $3 Trillion?
With 30% less ($2 Trillion) we could recruit a million Christian Capitalist missionaries. We could spend $100,000 training each of these missionaries in the principles of "Liberty under God": the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Capitalism. Missionaries would also learn Iraqi culture and language.
number of missionaries
training per missionary (constitution, capitalism, Iraqi culture)
Jefferson would recommend paying these missionaries so that they could devote their full efforts to intensive study to gain these essential competencies.
number of missionaries
wages (and expect disciplined learning)
These missionaries would then be qualified to impart the principles of "Liberty under God" to the people of Iraq, and would be paid for one year of service, and would be expected to raise private support for a second year.
stipend for one year
Each missionary would be given $1,000,000 to "bribe" Iraqi civilians into attending classes on Christianity, Capitalism and constitutional government. Terms: successfully complete this year-long college-level course on Christianity, Capitalism, and the Constitution, and we will invest one million dollars in your business. We will help you start a business if you don't have one. If the management of the company you work for will complete this course, we will give you $1 million in stock. This "bribe" would represent an extraordinary amount of start-up capital for small Iraqi businesses. Such businesses would be allowed tariff-free trade policies with U.S. markets. To put it mildly, these businesses would raise the standard of living for Iraqis and put a human face on Americans.
Total investment in Iraq: $2 trillion, one-third less than the Bush war. But this program of indoctrination and investment would truly create a New America in Iraq. Millions of Iraqi civilians would learn the principles of "Liberty under God," the principles that made America the greatest and most admired nation in the history of the world. Imagine the effect this would have in the Middle East.
Instead, both Republicans and Democrats approved using $3 Trillion dollars of your money to systematically convert one Iraqi neighborhood after another into rubble and dust, killing thousands of innocent Iraqi non-combatants in the process, and angering adherents of false religions around the world.
Saddam Hussein permitted Christians to evangelize in Iraq. He certainly would have approved an infusion of $2 Trillion U.S. Dollars into the Iraqi economy. He may have been a dictator, but he was no fool. He would have known that with an investment in the spiritual character of the people of Iraq, along with trillions invested in Iraqi businesses, Iraq would have become one of the freest and most affluent nations in the world. Saddam could have taken a great deal of credit for this.
He would have had to. Because this evangelistic program would have converted most of his minions into Christian libertarians.
Iraqi writer Kanan Makiya, whose book Republic of Fear remains the definitive account of Saddam's Iraq, estimates that in 1980, one-fifth of the economically active Iraqi labor force was a member of the army, the political militias, the secret police, or the police. One in five people, in other words, was employed to carry out institutional violence. The result was a country in which the families of political victims received their body parts in the mail; in which tens of thousands of Kurds could be murdered with chemical weapons; and in which, as Saddam's truncated trial demonstrated, the dictator could sign a document randomly condemning 148 people to death—among them an 11-year-old boy—and
feel no remorse or regret whatsoever. As his defense team argued, he believed this was his prerogative as head of state.
And probably most Iraqis believed it was their duty to submit to Saddam's prerogatives.
The federal government believes that it can overthrow one dictator (at a cost of over $10,000 for every man, woman and child in America) and bring the religion of "democracy" to Iraq. This is blind faith in the State, especially in a nation where 20% of the people are willing to work for the regime, carrying out its murderous edicts.
The religion and culture of the people are more important than the uniform worn by the dictator. The United States Federal Government merely replaced the uniform of a secular dictator with the robes of theocratic muslim clergy. The hearts of the people were not changed. The religion of Iraq was not changed. Iraq still does not understand "Liberty Under God."
The Christian communities in Iraq can trace their history back to the early days of their faith. Most are Chaldeans, a small sect which is autonomous from Rome but which recognises the authority of the Pope. There are an estimated 500,000 ethnic Assyrians indigenous to northern Iraq, south-east Turkey, north-east Syria and north-west Iran. This group is so ancient that some of its members still speak Aramaic, the language of the New Testament. The country’s other major Christian community is also Assyrian, and its Ancient Church of the East, having embraced Christianity in the first century AD, is believed to be the oldest Christian denomination in Iraq. Christians
in Iraq: The First Shall be Last
War Against Christians?
Since the U.S. invasion in 2003, over 1 million Christians have been exiled from Iraq, leaving only around 300,000 left in the country today. Iraqi Christians are raped, murdered and driven from their homes – and the West is silent.
Why would a "Christian President" destroy Christianity in Iraq and establish a muslim theocracy? Perhaps this was only an unintentional result of the war in Iraq. Perhaps. (The same thing happened in Afghanistan. Coincidence?)
For the first time in more than 1,000 years, reports the Washington Post today, “the plains of Nineveh and its provincial capital of Mosul have been virtually emptied of Christians.” Where there had been religious and cultural diversity for centuries, the destruction of Iraqi society brought about by US intervention has left only the most hardened of extremists to terrorize what is left of the population. Already six in ten Christians have fled Iraq, leaving churches empty and a way of life that dates to the time of Christ a distant memory. Millions
of Christians Are in Mourning This Christmas
John Whitehead: What do you think of George W. Bush as the Christian president? Frank Schaeffer: He is arguably the worst president in the history of the United States. He is unfit for the office of president of the United States. He has trouble speaking the English language and articulating a point of view. Second, he has led us into a war—in which my son, by the way, fought—on false pretenses. That is a terrible thing. Bush is personally responsible for the displacement of the Christian minority in Iraq. It was the last large Christian minority anywhere in the Middle East, and it has been destroyed. It is ironic that someone who proclaims he is a Christian president has single-handedly started a war that has undone the
last Christian minority in the Middle East. Now it is wall-to-wall Islam from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean with the exception of Israel. There is not one place outside of Syria that still has that intact Christian minority now. [Interview]
America missed her opportunity to "reconstruct Iraq."
The U.S. Federal Government has had a continued relationship with Saddam Hussein since the 1950's. As we pointed out in our Foreign Affairs page, America's Founding Fathers did not believe in this kind of perpetual foreign intervention:
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible." — Washington, Farewell Address (1796) [Washington’s emphasis]
I deem [one of] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. — Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
The federal government wants credit for "fixing" the problems in Iraq, when those problems were created by the federal government in the first place. We must get the federal government out of the "entangling alliance" business.
When War Gets Personal An insight into President Bush's motivation may have been provided by the President himself during a fundraising speech. He pointed out that Saddam Hussein "is a guy who tried to kill my dad at one time."
It is extraordinary that anyone would think Americans are safer as a result of Bush invading two Muslim countries and constantly threatening two more with military attack. The invasions and threats have caused a dramatic swing in Muslim sentiment away from the US. Prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, a large majority of Muslims had a favorable opinion of America. Now only about 5 percent do.
A number of US commanders in Iraq and many Middle East experts have told the American public that the three year-old war in Iraq is serving both to recruit and to train terrorists for al Qaeda, which has grown many times its former size. Moreover, the US military has concluded that al Qaeda has succeeded in having its members elected to the new Iraqi government.
And now with the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian election, we see the total failure of Bush’s Middle Eastern policy. Bush has succeeded in displacing secular moderates from Middle Eastern governments and replacing them with Islamic extremists. It boggles the mind that this disastrous result makes Americans feel safer!
Article II Sec. 4 of the Constitution states that: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime."
"We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression."
Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775: There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts [armies] is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it
be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir,
is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Some historians believe that at the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period (around 12,000 BC), Asiatic groups crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska. So "Native Americans" are really Chinese (a great over-simplification), and Europeans took over America from these Chinese people.
Now imagine that the Communist Party of China wants to "take America back," and invades the U.S., setting up military bases throughout the land, and organizing a "Coalition Government" with communist sympathizers and Communist front organizations.
I assume you would join me in saying that the Chinese Communist Party has no legitimate right to be here and is not our legitimate government. We would immediately be declared "insurgents," and if we picked up our muskets like Patrick Henry did, to fight against the Chinese Communist Redcoats, we would be called "terrorists."
The United States federal government has invaded Iraq with no more legitimacy than a Chinese invasion of the U.S., and no more legitimacy than the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Like these communist nations, the United States is now officially atheistic, and it is illegal for teachers in our local schools to teach schoolchildren that the Declaration of Independence (1776) is true, that there is a God, our rights come from Him, and our nation will be blessed by the Providence of God if we observe "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." This is all illegal in this now-atheistic America. Ironically, this atheistic government did not overthrow a Christian government in Iraq, but a secular one, and replaced it with an Islamic Theocracy. A government report published during the Reagan Administration concluded,
"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."
Truth is surely stranger than fiction.
The federal government has invaded Iraq, and the federal government has declared war on America.
True Americans will not support these wars.
The war in Iraq was (and is) an expensive, provocative, ineffective and unverifiable way of eliminating the threat [of WMD]. The waging of total war caused tens -- perhaps hundreds -- of thousands of civilian deaths; cost more than $1 trillion, increasing the deficit and adding to our economic strain; and included torture, extrajudicial killing and other illegal activities, undermining the United States' ability to credibly promote human rights and democracy. Frida Berrigan: Pro-Nuclear Pundits Debunked