The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

War on Iraq:
Counting the costs in blood money

Dec 9, 2002

The Democrats have challenged the Bush administration's cost estimates of a war against Iraq. The administration estimates that such a war would cost between 100 and 200 billion dollars in the first year of the war. After that, the administration is silent.

According to the Democrats, these estimates are wrong – they're much too high. The Democrats rolled out several scenarios in which a war could cost "only" between 31 and 37 billion dollars. The Democrats, who only yesterday accused Bush of underestimating the risks in such a war, today offered figures based on a war which would last only 30 days, and require only 125,000 troops. (Of course, there are already 250,000 troops near Iraq, and during the Gulf War, there were 500,000.)

In fact, both parties underestimate the true monetary cost of such a war – which, if it is carried out, will require a long period of occupation in a country whose population has suffered 11 years under American bombs and a strangulation embargo preventing sufficient medical supplies and water treatment materials from reaching Iraq. And neither party touches on the real cost of such a war – the additional deaths and further harm to be rained down on an Iraqi population which has already suffered almost two million people dead. Nor do they mention a word about the cost in terms of U.S. troops' lives – those who will die in the war, and the many more who will die and suffer the permanent destructive after-effects of the war. Not to mention the cutbacks in public services, social welfare services and a worsening economy.

No, for both Democrat and Republican these days, wars are just matters of coming up with more dollars, many of which will find their way into the pockets of every big company with military contracts.