Larry Kerschner Writes

Cost of War

     I used to complain about the real costs of war when Bush and the Republican Congress were in charge.  I now have the same complaint with Obama and the lily-livered Democratic Congress supposedly running the show.  In early November, Admiral Michael Mullen (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) announced that the Pentagon will seek additional war funds for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2010. While he did not give a firm dollar amount, the New York Times reported that defense budget analysts are kicking around the number of $50 billion. The final dollar amount won't be known until the White House submits its "emergency" supplemental spending request to Congress, most likely around February 2.  War spending in 2010 will exceed $190 billion if indeed the Pentagon seeks and Congress approves another $50 billion in "emergency" funding. That's more than the $179 billion spent under President Bush in 2008, the previous high water mark for stupid war spending.

      You can find some interesting facts about war from the National Priorities Project's Cost of War Counter.   Look up the NPP's Afghanistan Cost of War Counter at www.costofwar.com  and calculate our local cost of the war.  I haven’t recently seen another cost of war since the media is trying to make us forget about it.  The U.S. Military has had 5,310 soldiers officially killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These numbers don’t include the at least 128 soldiers were confirmed to have killed themselves in 2008, compared with 115 in 2007, 102 in 2006 and 87 in 2005.  Nor does it include the hundreds who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan but who didn’t die until they were out of theatre.  

    The death of Iraqi civilians from our invasion and occupation is estimated between 100,000 and over a million.  Iraq Body Count (www.iraqbodycount.org) lists 94,888 dead Iraqi civilians.  The reason their number is on the lower end of the range is that Iraq Body Count does not include casualty estimates or projections in its database. It only includes individual or cumulative deaths as directly reported by the media or tallied by official bodies (for instance, by hospitals, morgues and, in a few cases so far, NGOs), and subsequently reported in the media. In other words, each entry in the Iraq Body Count data base represents Iraqi civilian deaths which have actually been recorded by appropriate witnesses - not "possible" or even "probable" deaths. 

      If you are interested in dead civilians in Afghanistan  the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan publishes an Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, which is updated every six months. Their website is www.unama.unmissions.org.   More casualty data, plus background information on Afghanistan can be found in The Cost of War in Afghanistan, published by NPP and the American Friends Service Committee. It can be found at: www.nationalpriorities.org.

     My first grandchild was born two weeks ago.  What a world we have created for her to grow up in.

Larry Kerschner 3681 Cooks Hill Road  Centralia  360-880-4741