Hard for American People to Understand; Cracked Egg

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Submitted by PerryChase on January 16, 2007 - 8:36pm

I just watched Bush's interview with Jim Lehrer.

Bush said it's "hard, I think, for the American people to understand" the situation in Iraq.

"I've spent a lot of time during my presidency talking to the American people and educating the American people about the stakes and what we're trying to get done."

He's doing the "very best to explain to people why success is vital." But we still don't understand. How long does he think it'll take for us to understand the situation?

Cracked Egg or Broker Egg?
-----------------
MR. LEHRER: Is there a little bit of a broken egg problem here, Mr. President, that there is instability and there is violence in Iraq - sectarian violence, Iraqis killing other Iraqis, and now the United States helped create the broken egg and now says, okay, Iraqis, it's your problem. You put the egg back together, and if you don't do it quickly and you don't do it well, then we'll get the hell out.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, you know, that's an interesting question. I don't quite view it as the broken egg; I view it as the cracked egg --

MR. LEHRER: Cracked egg?

PRESIDENT BUSH: -- that - where we still have a chance to move beyond the broken egg. And I thought long and hard about the decision, Jim. Obviously it's a big decision for this theater in the war on terror, and you know, if I didn't believe we could keep the egg from fully cracking, I wouldn't ask 21,000 kids - additional kids to go into Iraq to reinforce those troops that are there.

Sacrifices in the cold war.
------------------
PRESIDENT BUSH: -- this is like saying why don't you make sacrifices in the Cold War?

What the hell does he mean? No wonder we don't understand.

Full transcript:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/white_hou...

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 16, 2007 - 9:57pm.

The article linked below provides the best explanation I've read yet as to why the President chose to start a war with Iraq. Basically, the threat of terrorism was used as a pretext to invade Iraq. The real reason for the invasion was to gain control of Iraq's vast supply of oil. Further, the President never cared all that much about how the war was prosecuted and how many people were killed so long as Western oil companies were granted access to Iraq's oil at the end. The Iraqi government is about to pass a law giving western oil companies unbridled access to Iraqi oil, which was the President's real goal all along.

As stated in the article:

"From those earliest days until now, throughout all the twists and turns, the blood and chaos of the occupation, the Bush Administration has kept its eye on this prize. The new law offers the barrelling buccaneers of the West a juicy set of production-sharing agreements (PSAs) that will maintain a fig leaf of Iraqi ownership of the nation's oil industry -- while letting Bush's Big Oil buddies rake off up to 75 percent of all oil profits for an indefinite period up front, until they decide that their "infrastructure investments" have been repaid. Even then, the agreements will give the Western oil majors an unheard-of 20 percent of Iraq's oil profits -- more than twice the average of standard PSAs, the Independent notes."

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/46602/

I think history will show President Bush as having been one of the most immoral presidents in history. It's pretty clear that Iraq was never a threat to us given that they didn't have any WMDs and had no ability to make them. The real threat to our way of life today is individual terrorists and terrorist cells. Given the instability created by Bush in the Middle East, I fear that many, many young men who might have chosen a different path will now align themselves with Al Qaeda or some other terrorist group. All it takes is for one of them to get their hands on some kind of suitcase nuke and to bring it into the U.S. for our country to be irretrievably damaged. Additionally, not only has Bush's War created more terrorists, but his immoral acts in prosecuting his war have likely inflamed the terrorits making them even more dangerous than they were before. We can't get this guy out of office soon enough in my opinion.

Submitted by jg on January 16, 2007 - 10:10pm.

Well, you'll have to wait two long years, TB.

I had my long eight years with Clinton emasculating the military, selling weapons to the Chinese, and turning a blind eye to Al Qaeda. Don't get too many gray hairs during the '07-'08, TB and PC.

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 16, 2007 - 10:42pm.

Thanks for bringing up Clinton, jg. Whenever I start to feel down about the current state of affairs, I just think back to the glorious Clinton years: A booming economy; lowest federal deficits ever; worldwide peace; putting an end to the Kosovo crisis; lowering crime rates; environmental stewardship; cutting federal beuracracy; etc. Wow, just thinking about those days fills my heart with joy. The Great President Clinton was truly a man among men. Not only was he a Rhodes Scholar, but he was a great orator and a tremendous statesman.

Contrast that with Bush: drug addict; only admitted to Yale because of family connections; a failed businessman; ignored a report about the dangers of Al Qaeda in the summer of 2001; vacations 9 months per year; started a disastrous war with Iraq; created a new prescription drug entitlement program; soaring deficits; can't string two coherent words together; isolationist; has ostracized all of America's allies; left Katrina victims to die; nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court; and on and on.

What a tremendous, tremendous failure Bush has been. If this is the best you have to offer jg, I predict that Republicans will be out of power for a long, long time to come after 2008.

By the way, would you have rather been in the military during the Clinton years when hardly any American servicemen were killed while on active duty; or would you rather be in the service now with Bush's accelerated deployments and mandatory contract extensions so that you could babysit a civil war? And how many allies do we have now in Bush's War? Isn't Britain going to pull out all their troops leaving only Poland as the only other country with troops in Iraq? Yep, it must feel good to be a part of Bush's military today.

Submitted by 4plexowner on January 16, 2007 - 10:47pm.

9/11 was executed by the neocons to achieve the goal of gaining control over Iraq's oil.

Iran is the next target and the objective is the same.

If you don't believe these statements you haven't read enough history.

~

Who put OUR oil under the Middle East's sand anyway?????

Submitted by Diego Mamani on January 17, 2007 - 3:00am.

I think Clinton was just lucky that he got to be president during the booming phase of the business cycle. Even with that in mind, and adding the Lewinsky scandal for good measure, he was a far better president than Bush is today.

The oil motive to start the Iraq war has some truth to it, but it's not the whole story. War is always profitable, as Haliburton and its many subcontractors can prove. Also, following 9/11, the public came to perceive all arabs as "the enemy", and so, it was convenient for politicians to endorse the war. This, I think, was a bigger factor than exploiting Iraq's oil. Even Hillary Cinton voted for the war! So the democrats share some of the blame for this most calamitous foreign policy error.

As we've commented before, we are now in an infinitely worse situation than had Saddam stayed in power. He was a crook and a dictator, but he kept some stability in his country. More importantly, he hated and feared Al Qaeda, feelings that were large reciprocal. If we stay in Iraq now, we'll further destabilize the country and foster more resentment against the United States, not only in Iraq but in the whole region and beyond. But if we leave, Al Qaeda and Taliban-type fanatics are likely to take over and use Iraq as a launching pad to attack us. What Bush has created is the very definition of a quagmire.

The man deserves no less than impeachment. Cheney and Rumsfeld should be tried for crimes against humanity, and for blatantly deceiving the American public in order to take the country to war for personal gain.

Future generations will find it inconceivable that we let the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ike Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan be hijacked by a band of extremist theo-cons and neo-cons such as the three mentioned above.

Submitted by sdnativeson on January 17, 2007 - 8:44am.

WOW. I cannot believe some of the things I have read here.
I didn't see the Bush interview and I haven't read the transcript yet so I won't speak to that.

What I can, and will, speak to is the rhetoric that so many espouse with little, if any, validation. More so, I see a disconcerting rise in the level of civility. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I would hope however, that before they voice it they do some "homework" as to the validity of their argument. That would mean getting outside your comfort zone, finding and reading materials that may be contrary to the mind set you (and those who influence you)have. I really don't see that very often here.

What I have observed and experienced, is those who spit out the most vitriol are quick to ask for "proof" or "data" from those with a contrary opinion, upon being provided with it they often disappear.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on January 17, 2007 - 9:12am.

The Clinton years were great economically. I miss that aspect. However, those years also included the initial attempt to attack the World Trade Center, the simultaneous attack of embassies and the bombing of the USS Cole. These were preludes to the attack on 9/11.

Maybe it was good luck to be prez when the economy was on a roll and maybe it was a result of his policies. Maybe it was bad luck that a series of terrorist attacks occurred during his presidency and maybe it was a result of ignoring a festering problem.

Either way it is easy to look back with fondness and forget the warts. But to be fair, it wasn't exactly shangri la.

Submitted by gold_dredger_phd on January 17, 2007 - 7:31pm.

It's great to be President when the end of history occurs just before you take office and you get to preside over a stock bubble of unprecedented proportions.

Bush had to clean up Clinton's mess.

Clinton was just a smarter and better looking version of Jimmy Carter.

Submitted by JJGittes on January 17, 2007 - 7:52pm.

"Clinton was just a smarter and better looking version of Jimmy Carter."

Perhaps like Mr. Obama? Oh yeah, I'm sorry, it's all about a third way.....yawn

Submitted by poorgradstudent on January 17, 2007 - 8:06pm.

"Bush had to clean up Clinton's mess."

Wow. Just... wow.

Clinton's middle class tax cuts were what made the 90s so great. Well, that and having a divided government, that reigned in wasteful spending.

2002-2006 will be remembered as the awful "rubber stamp" years, where a quagmire of a war dragged down our economy (please, no one use the "war helps the economy" crap. That was really only true in WWII which was a special case.)

Clinton cleaned up Reagan's mess, and Bush has mucked things up again. But, the American people elected him in 2004 (and the supreme court appointed him in 2000), so we're stuck with him for another two years. I'm cautiously optimistic that this divided government will be a lot more financially responsible than the rubber stamp congress was.

Submitted by North County Jim on January 17, 2007 - 9:57pm.

Clinton's middle class tax cuts were what made the 90s so great.

What middle class tax cut? He campaigned for it in 1992 and then lobbied the Congress to raise income, corporate and gasoline taxes in 1993.

It was sold to the public as a soak-the-rich tax increase but was anything but that. The ever grateful middle class responded to Clinton's "generosity" by throwing the Democrats out of power in the next cycle.

Go look it up.

Submitted by sdnativeson on January 17, 2007 - 11:02pm.

poorgradstudent "Clinton's middle class tax cuts were what made the 90s so great. Well, that and having a divided government, that reigned in wasteful spending." Clinton took credit for the tax cuts pushed through by the houses at a later time, dig a little deeper and in different places.

Submitted by 4plexowner on January 17, 2007 - 11:19pm.

It amuses me to see the bickering back and forth between Republicans and Democrats.

As always, there is a bigger picture if you will back up and look for it.

In this case the bigger picture is that the banking cartel runs the world and they provide Americans with two political parties so we have the illusion of choice.

Because people are so busy arguing about which politicians suck the worst, the banking cartel is able to do whatever they want without being questioned.

Read "The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" by Edward Griffin to get some insight into who really controls both political parties.

Submitted by SHILOH on January 18, 2007 - 12:14pm.

Conservatives believe that the ultimate end for communism obliterates rule-of-law...from which the American Constitution originates. The "Cold War" came to an end because of the strength of the free-world. Citizens in communist countries are killed for speaking out against their government. US citizenship is recognized globally as a prized privilege.

It makes me happy that the person, Saddam Hussein and his entourage are no longer in power anywhere, since he is of the same genre as Hitler -though not as powerful. I don't understand why anyone would say the world would be the same or better off had we left him where he was...in power as a brutal dictator. The idea of his brand of terror against individuals with his unbridled brutality----going unchecked---sickens me. The spread of it would be tragic.

Edmund Burke is attributed with saying ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil. is for good men to do nothing.’ That brand of evil that Saddam inflicted on other innocent families...had to be stopped for the sake of doing what is right. This has become American heritage. Saddam reportedly killed over 2 million people and was said to admire Stalin...the Soviet leader who murdered 4 million of his own countrymen.

The problem we face now...terrorism and violence against civilians is part of the modern Muslim cultural psychology --unlike modern "western" culture that views it as barbaric and appauling. Below is from an article I read:

"In a recent survey of 6,000 Muslims in 14 countries published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, females were more likely to support terrorism than were males. What’s more, married and unmarried persons are equally likely to support terrorism. Age matters less than one may think at first blush. In the same survey, some 47 percent of 62-year-olds surveyed were inclined to support terrorism. That percentage was only 10 points higher for 18-year-olds.

Other factors, such as perception of a threat to Islam and opinions about the role of religion in government, have a significantly greater impact on support for terrorism than age or gender. The bottom line? Ideology and beliefs matter more than social or economic status, age or gender. Focusing outreach and counterterrorism efforts on young, unmarried Muslim males will only overlook enormous sections of Muslim populations who support terrorists."
excerpt from 'Think Again: Islamist Terrorism'
By C. Christine Fair, Husain Haqqani

Submitted by PD on January 18, 2007 - 1:11pm.

It was pure luck that Clinton was president during the birth of the internet and all of the economic pluses hat went with it (lots of extra capital gains taxes rolling in). Of course, Al did try to take credit for it…

Submitted by jztz on January 18, 2007 - 2:53pm.

Read this to appreciate the impact of the Iraqi war by numhers (go to www.nytimes.com directly if you want to follow some links). Bush said that he was a "decider" - one has to say that he decides w/o any gift of foresight (and he fire those who have). The country is left with what comes out of it...

January 17, 2007
Economix
What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy
By DAVID LEONHARDT
The human mind isn’t very well equipped to make sense of a figure like $1.2 trillion. We don’t deal with a trillion of anything in our daily lives, and so when we come across such a big number, it is hard to distinguish it from any other big number. Millions, billions, a trillion — they all start to sound the same.

The way to come to grips with $1.2 trillion is to forget about the number itself and think instead about what you could buy with the money. When you do that, a trillion stops sounding anything like millions or billions.

For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

All that would be one way to spend $1.2 trillion. Here would be another:

The war in Iraq.

In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.

These estimates probably would have turned out to be too optimistic even if the war had gone well. Throughout history, people have typically underestimated the cost of war, as William Nordhaus, a Yale economist, has pointed out.

But the deteriorating situation in Iraq has caused the initial predictions to be off the mark by a scale that is difficult to fathom. The operation itself — the helicopters, the tanks, the fuel needed to run them, the combat pay for enlisted troops, the salaries of reservists and contractors, the rebuilding of Iraq — is costing more than $300 million a day, estimates Scott Wallsten, an economist in Washington.

That translates into a couple of billion dollars a week and, over the full course of the war, an eventual total of $700 billion in direct spending.

The two best-known analyses of the war’s costs agree on this figure, but they diverge from there. Linda Bilmes, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate and former Clinton administration adviser, put a total price tag of more than $2 trillion on the war. They include a number of indirect costs, like the economic stimulus that the war funds would have provided if they had been spent in this country.

Mr. Wallsten, who worked with Katrina Kosec, another economist, argues for a figure closer to $1 trillion in today’s dollars. My own estimate falls on the conservative side, largely because it focuses on the actual money that Americans would have been able to spend in the absence of a war. I didn’t even attempt to put a monetary value on the more than 3,000 American deaths in the war.

Besides the direct military spending, I’m including the gas tax that the war has effectively imposed on American families (to the benefit of oil-producing countries like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia). At the start of 2003, a barrel of oil was selling for $30. Since then, the average price has been about $50. Attributing even $5 of this difference to the conflict adds another $150 billion to the war’s price tag, Ms. Bilmes and Mr. Stiglitz say.

The war has also guaranteed some big future expenses. Replacing the hardware used in Iraq and otherwise getting the United States military back into its prewar fighting shape could cost $100 billion. And if this war’s veterans receive disability payments and medical care at the same rate as veterans of the first gulf war, their health costs will add up to $250 billion. If the disability rate matches Vietnam’s, the number climbs higher. Either way, Ms. Bilmes says, “It’s like a miniature Medicare.”

In economic terms, you can think of these medical costs as the difference between how productive the soldiers would have been as, say, computer programmers or firefighters and how productive they will be as wounded veterans. In human terms, you can think of soldiers like Jason Poole, a young corporal profiled in The New York Times last year. Before the war, he had planned to be a teacher. After being hit by a roadside bomb in 2004, he spent hundreds of hours learning to walk and talk again, and he now splits his time between a community college and a hospital in Northern California.

Whatever number you use for the war’s total cost, it will tower over costs that normally seem prohibitive. Right now, including everything, the war is costing about $200 billion a year.

Treating heart disease and diabetes, by contrast, would probably cost about $50 billion a year. The remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations — held up in Congress partly because of their cost — might cost somewhat less. Universal preschool would be $35 billion. In Afghanistan, $10 billion could make a real difference. At the National Cancer Institute, annual budget is about $6 billion.

“This war has skewed our thinking about resources,” said Mr. Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative-leaning research group. “In the context of the war, $20 billion is nothing.”

As it happens, $20 billion is not a bad ballpark estimate for the added cost of Mr. Bush’s planned surge in troops. By itself, of course, that price tag doesn’t mean the surge is a bad idea. If it offers the best chance to stabilize Iraq, then it may well be the right option.

But the standard shouldn’t simply be whether a surge is better than the most popular alternative — a far-less-expensive political strategy that includes getting tough with the Iraqi government. The standard should be whether the surge would be better than the political strategy plus whatever else might be accomplished with the $20 billion.

This time, it would be nice to have that discussion before the troops reach Iraq.

leonhardt@nytimes.com

Submitted by jztz on January 18, 2007 - 2:57pm.

Read this to understand why people here will NEVER agree even given the same facts... because they do not look at fact and then decide rationally the right emotional response; they have a certain mindset and emotional attachment to their mindset and they then inteprete data (or revise data) based on their pre-existing view...

December 4, 2006
DEJA VU
By CYNTHIA CROSSEN
'Cognitive Dissonance'
December 4, 2006; Page B1

Leon Festinger, a social psychologist at Stanford University, was studying how and why rumors spread when he read about the aftermath of a severe earthquake that shook India in 1934. People who lived in a region of the country that had felt the shock but were spared death and destruction began circulating rumors that other terrible disasters were about to befall them -- a cyclone, a flood, another earthquake or "unforeseeable calamities."

Why, Mr. Festinger wondered, would rumors arise that provoked rather than allayed anxiety, especially among people who hadn't suffered any immediate loss? And why were the rumors so widely accepted?

His conclusion derailed his analysis of rumors and put him on the track of a milestone in psychological theory: When feelings and facts are in opposition, people will find -- or invent -- a way to reconcile them. The people who had narrowly escaped the earthquake were scared, but their fear seemed largely unjustified. The rumors provided people with information that fit how they already felt, reducing what Mr. Festinger called their "cognitive dissonance." His 1957 book on the subject was widely influential in many fields, and the theory is still studied and applied in advertising and market research, politics, education and health.

Why, for example, do people who know cigarettes are bad for their health continue to smoke? This is classic cognitive dissonance: They know one thing and feel another.

Mr. Festinger believed this incongruity is as uncomfortable to the human organism as hunger. One way or another, the anxiety must be assuaged. So the smoker builds a bridge -- a rationalization -- from feeling to fact: If he stopped smoking, he'd gain weight, which would also be unhealthy; some risks are worth taking to have a full life; the risks of smoking have been exaggerated. Indeed, in a 1954 survey asking people if they felt the link between lung cancer and cigarettes had been proven, 86% of heavy smokers thought it wasn't proven, while only 55% of nonsmokers doubted the connection.

Cognitive dissonance also explains why many people read advertisements for products they have already bought. Almost inevitably, they have made a choice that involved compromises. The car they purchased gets great mileage, but isn't stylish or powerful. After reading a loving description in a newspaper or magazine, they feel less conflicted about their decision -- their dissonance has been reduced.

Because of cognitive dissonance, facts can be as malleable as clay. In 1951, the Princeton and Dartmouth football teams played a particularly competitive and rough game. A sample of students from each school were later shown the same film of the game and asked to note incidents of rough or illegal play. Dartmouth students saw mostly Princeton's offenses; Princeton students saw mostly Dartmouth's.

But where Mr. Festinger found the richest raw material for his theory was in a cult that developed in Chicago in 1954. A woman Mr. Festinger called Marion Keech claimed she was receiving messages from another planet, Clarion. The messages predicted that on a given date, a cataclysmic flood would engulf most of the continent. Those who joined Mrs. Keech's sect would be picked up by flying saucers and evacuated from the planet.

A brief newspaper story about the cult came to the attention of Mr. Festinger. He was reminded of the followers of a New England farmer, William Miller, who predicted that the Second Advent of Christ would occur in 1843. Thousands of people who believed Miller's prophecy prepared for the world to end. But 1843 passed without incident. Far from admitting that the prediction was wrong, the Millerites attempted to lessen their cognitive dissonance in two ways: They changed the date of the Second Advent to the following year and stepped up their campaign, trying to convince even more people that their belief was right.

Mr. Festinger and two colleagues infiltrated Mrs. Keech's movement, acting as participants for three months. They watched as about two dozen well-educated, upper-middle-class people, "who led normal lives and filled responsible roles in society," quit their jobs and threw away their possessions. Before the dates of the expected flood, the cult was mostly averse to publicity and had no interest in attracting other believers.

On the day before the flood, the group was told that at midnight a man would appear at Mrs. Keech's house and take them to a flying saucer. But no knock came at her door, and the group struggled to find an explanation for why there would be no flying saucer or flood. At 4:45 a.m., the group said, a message arrived from God saying He had stayed the flood because of their strength.

What interested Mr. Festinger was not so much this face-saving explanation as what the cult members did in the following weeks. Rather than shunning public attention as they had before, they began zealously proselytizing. "There were almost no lengths to which these people would not go now to get publicity and to attract potential believers," Mr. Festinger wrote. "If more converts could be found, then the dissonance between their belief and the knowledge that the prediction hadn't been correct could be reduced."

Write to Cynthia Crossen at cynthia.crossen@wsj.com1

Submitted by sdnativeson on January 18, 2007 - 4:25pm.

Is this economically or politically motivated? Political IMO. So for less than half of 1.2 trillion dollars we can fund a national public health "campaign" (I hope that means program) for a decade? Yes, yes, I know, and cancer research, diabetes, heart disease and worldwide immunization of children. Sounds a little too good to be true.

I read this and wind up with a lot of questions and doubts as to the veracity of many of these statements. I also initially find some inaccuracies, for me there is too much that at an first reading, I find to be generalized and vague.

Submitted by PerryChase on January 18, 2007 - 4:48pm.

Considering the cost of the war, we could have given each Iraqi $5000 to depose Saddam themselves. Bush could've gone on TV and promised $5000 to each Iraqi if they'd capture Saddam and kill him.

America would then be seen as a generous benefactor.

$1 trillion equals $28,571 for every single man, woman and child in Iraq (assuming a 35 million population).

Submitted by jztz on January 18, 2007 - 11:35pm.

SDNative, just read carefully, and do some math:

half of 1.2 trillion is 600 billion. To run the "public campaign" it talked about for 10 years, that means $60 billion a year. And it includes:

- double cancer research - it only costs about $5 billion.
The NIH spending on cancer research has been $4.83 and $4.79 in 2005 and 2006, and will go down slightly to $4.75 in 2007.
(either researchers get no raises, or they fire some of them!)
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/facts...

- "a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives". Let's assume 10M children, and it costs $200 each (money goes a long way in developing countries when it's not used in war!), then that's $2 billion. Let's make it 2.5x to reach $5 billion.

- That leave $50 billion for "treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged". Notice the key word "unmanaged" -- likely those people who are not insured who are unfortunate to have diseases. I don't have stats, but assume that on average treatment is $10K each to manage these conditions, you are talking about 5M people (US has about 45 million uninsured, so this works out to be that about 10% has heart and/or diabetes).

So if you keep doing it for 10 years; cancer research may yield cure to save millions of people's lives; 10M children a year - that adds to be 100M children over a decade; and those 5M uninsured will for sure live better/longer and use emergency room less as their only healthcare... of course my numbers can be off, but whatever the real numbers work out to be, it's still "an unprecedented public health campaign".

So only if that 1.2 trillion is not spent someplace else! For the $1.2 trillion that's spent (and will be spent), so far we had 3000+ US soldiers dead; tens of thousands maimed; and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded.

There seems to be an unwillingness to accept the article's basic thesis - that $1.2 trillion can do an awful lot of good things to this country -- so I suggest that you read the WSJ article about cognitive disonance - and read it carefully too!

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 19, 2007 - 12:18am.

What really sucks about the costs of Bush's War is not only all the good that money could have done right here in America, but also that Bush spent all this money and put our country in a worse situation than it otherwise would have been. So it's not just that Bush took $1.2 trillion and essentially flushed it down the toilet. He also took some portion of that money and handed it directly to the terrorists.

For example, Iran (controlled by Shiites) is absolutely giddy that the U.S. took out the Sunni government in Iraq and replaced it with a Shiite-controlled government. Iran had very little influence in Iraq when Saddam and other Sunnis were in control, but now Iran will have major influence in Iraq going forward. Basically Bush's idiotic policies have greatly expanded Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Submitted by TheBreeze on January 19, 2007 - 12:44am.

It makes me happy that the person, Saddam Hussein and his entourage are no longer in power anywhere, since he is of the same genre as Hitler -though not as powerful. I don't understand why anyone would say the world would be the same or better off had we left him where he was...in power as a brutal dictator. The idea of his brand of terror against individuals with his unbridled brutality----going unchecked---sickens me. The spread of it would be tragic.

SHILOH,

Have you heard about the people being found dead in Iraq NOW with holes drilled in their knees? Who do you think is doing that? Do you think Saddam has come back from the dead to perpetuate these crimes?

The U.S. hasn't done anything by removing Saddam. It's projected that 34,000 people will be murdered in Iraq this year. Over 100,000 have been killed since the war began. Do you think Iraq is some kind of fairyland where everyone gets along now that the evil Saddam is gone? Wrong. All that Bush has done is replace a brutal dictator with a Shiite puppet government that implicitly sponsors Shiite death squads. Subtle "ethnic cleansing" (I hate that word) is going on every day in Iraq now. Shiite militias and death squads have been incorporating themselves into the Iraqi army and police since at least 2005.

The only difference between Iraq now and Iraq under Saddam is that Bush is sponsoring the brutality that takes place in Iraq now.

http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/109706.html

Submitted by sdnativeson on January 19, 2007 - 9:28am.

jztz yes, I have read it but, so what? I can toss that comment right back at you. Yes, I have my misgivings about those numbers and when I get the time, I'll investigate further. Now I never said the 1.2 trillion wouldn't do a lot for the country did I? I don't think it was even implied in my statement. I am fully capable of doing basic math, even with only twenty digits. Realize, that the way mathmatics (for the most part) works is that the formulas execute their function correctly regardless of the accuracy of the numbers.

I still find it to be vague and overall generalized. Seriously, implying that Iraq is the one and only reason for the oil price increase? I find that a glaring falsehood don't you?

Submitted by sdnativeson on January 19, 2007 - 8:54am.

we won't be better off if we don't finish what we started TB, but I don't think you can or will entertain that train of thought. I disagree that the US hasn't done anything by removing Saddam.

I concede that there have/has been short-sightedness involved, combined with the unrealistic (however well intentioned goal) of attempting to create some sort of democratic self-government in a place where there never has been one and IMO the culture isn't ready for.

I see both success and failure at all levels.

The sunnis and shiites were killing each other before we arrived yes, even under Saddam TB. It just worked in his best interest to allow it most of the time. If one wanted to make a concession to Saddam he, his family and the Baath party were equal opportunity murderers.

Submitted by sdcellar on January 22, 2007 - 11:19am.

jztz-- Nice post with the cognitive dissonance piece. I assume you've considered that the NY Times might provide lefties with what they need and Fox News the same for righties?

The interesting thing about the NYT article you posted is that it has bits that both Princeton and Dartmouth alumni can latch on to, and the left and right for that matter. I assume you didn't consider it a shining beacon of "truth".

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