From The Vaults

Cost of Iraq War to Ohioans

The Iraq war has not only killed 165 Ohioans and wounded 1,202, but also drained about $18.3 billion from the state’s economy, according to a report anti-war activists issued Wednesday on the five-year anniversary of the invasion.

The war will cost Ohioans another $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2008 and is projected to run another $4.9 billion the following year, according to the National Priorities Project report.

Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, which released the report, said it based the figures on an analysis of federal legislation that has allocated money for war.

“States are increasingly under pressure to try to fund or fill the gap, especially on things like social service block grants, and home energy assistance money, and the Section Eight housing,” he told reporters in a conference call. “People feel the sting of what this has cost us in terms of domestic spending in our own country.”

Both the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns “seem to have forgotten the connection between what’s happening in the economy here at home and the economic drain going on overseas,” he said. “The cost of the war is related to Ohio and the nation’s economic problems.”

Sen. Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) said the lack of good leadership has squandered lives and resources in a war that is dividing the country. “The costs are escalating – not only in lives, but in financial costs and at some point we’ve reached the breaking point.”

Greg Coleridge, American Friends Service Committee-Northeast Ohio, said it was a “war with no winners, either short-term or long-term, with the exception, maybe of the oil corporations and the reconstruction corporations, and military weapons contractors, which have all benefited handsomely.”


4 comments to Cost of Iraq War to Ohioans

  • Stan Hirtle

    In today’s DDN, someone was complaining about how property tax relief is being offset by property tax increases for services like Sinclair Community College and local public schools. These things are valuable, necessary assets in the community. Others complain that a local mental health facility is being shut down. Property taxes are particularly unfair because many people do not have the ability to pay them, particularly seniors who own homes but have little income. Some argue over the specifics of how much money is needed and how it is spent. However few connect the lack of money for things that are needed at home to the war that is costing somewhere between $300 million and $700 million per day, so say nothing of killing and maiming thousands of young Americans.

    America has been in this war for 5 years, longer than we were in World War II. What was the original reason for the war? Fear that the erratic and blustering Saddam Hussein would get nuclear weapons and give them to terrorists? Needing to whack someone after 9/11? A Neocon dream that a US victory in Iraq would bring democracy and capitalism to the feudal and dictator prone middle east? To intimidate the Saudis who fund the Islamists? A personal Bush vendetta? To replace the Shah’s Iran as a US stronghold in the oil rich region? Whatever it was, it is long gone. Saddam is deposed and hanged.

    Now the reasons for keep the war going seem to be that we love the troops, that there is less killing than there was, and that terrorists would claim victory if we left. But these make little sense. Sure we love and respect the troops but that in itself is not a reason to keep them at risk, where some will be killed. There is less killing in Iraq than there was, but killing still goes on and on, and while the US can make short term alliances with various factions, this does not lead to long term stability. Terrorists may or may not claim victory if the US leaves, but they remain attractive to many who do not want the US occupying their lands. Heavy handed tactics, waterboarding and torture do not make the US popular, only hated and feared. Hoping to kill our enemies faster or more strategically than we grow new ones is a losing effort. And it does not produce democracy or stability. And most clearly the US can not afford the cost of the war, in money, in people killed and injured, in using up the available soldiers and spreading them so thin that we are limited in Afghanistan, unable to do much in other trouble spots let alone places like Darfur where genocide is happening. We may be the most powerful military with the power to kill the most people in history, but this military does not give unlimited ability to demand the world be the way we want it to be. For that it takes carrots as well as sticks, and a society that people might emulate rather than fear. Violence has at most a limited role in making the world a place we want to live. Mostly violence is destructive and breeds more violence down the road. Both bin Ladin and Saddam were once used by the US against other enemies. No doubt we are now creating future enemies on both sides. A world that is stable, interdependent and peaceful requires other ways than violence to solve disputes, include a shared moral sense that we have squandered by originating this war of choice.

  • Joe C.

    Even if the cost analysis was true, it’d be a bargain! Where is the benefit analysis?

  • Stan Hirtle

    Please explain this bargain.

  • T. Ruddick

    Well, few commentators who heard W say that we’ll stay in Iraq “as long as it takes” and commit “whatever it takes” had the perspicacity to ask (a) what happens if the desired outcomes never emerge? or (b) what if what it takes is driving the USA into bankrupcy and emerging as a crumbling, fractious former world power?

    One of the great failings of our government over the past 50 years has been its inability to consider a reasonable budget. Ken Starr burnt up more than 50 million, first investigating Whitewater and finding no grounds for charges, then delving into other unrelated matters, finally coming up with an embarrassing personal failing. School districts continued to burn dollars and gasoline on court-ordered busing programs long after reasonable people realized they weren’t achieving their intended objectives. And now this military occupation (not “war”–we won the war when we routed their army, captured their capital, and deposed their government) is going to go on and on forever just because it is the song that has no end….

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