Waging a war we can all be proud of

By Murray Bourne, 03 Aug 2006

A piece by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (which I read in the Taiwan News, 11 Jan 2006) struck a chord with me and I have thought about it a lot since. Entitled "Waging a war we can all be proud of", it suggested that Bush and the US would be much better off if they launched a war against poverty, rather than the current nonsense that is supposed to reduce terrorism, but is actually increasing it.

Mr. Bush would do wonders for his legacy - and, above all, wonders for the poor - if he'd summon the moral vision to launch a high-profile Global War on Poverty. That is one American-backed war that nearly all the world would thunderously applaud.

Hear, hear.

And when you consider the costs involved in the Iraq war, it seems to me that spending only a fraction of that money on development in poor countries would be a very good insurance policy. Look how Indonesia had a much better view of the US after the tsunami, when the US was quick to provide assistance.

Here is one site's estimate of the $ cost so far:

Cost of National Security

And here are some more detailed costs from Institute of Policy Studies (link no longer available).

I can't verify the accuracy of these figures - suffice to say the US is spending a lot.

Footnote 1: I read tonight that the US military is spending $20 million on recovering the bodies of airmen who were shot down over Laos during the Vietnam era, 30 years ago.

Footnote 2: The coalition forces wasted $17 billion of Iraqi money, which they were supposed to distribute for the rebuilding of Iraq. Much of the money disappeared and cannot be accounted for. Scandalous.

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