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August 24, 2005

2005.09.24: Antiwar Bulletin: Trillion-Dollar War

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 1:30 pm
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From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:01 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS; James A. Bernal
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Trillion-Dollar War

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/20/opinion/20bilmes.html?ex=1125547200&en=3a36109fa25dd320&ei=5070&emc=eta1

The New York Times
August 20, 2005
The Trillion-Dollar War
By LINDA BILMES

Cambridge, Mass.

THE human cost of the more than 2,000 American military personnel killed and 14,500 wounded so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is all too apparent. But the financial toll is still largely hidden from public view and, like the suffering of those who have lost loved ones, will persist long after the fighting is over.

The cost goes well beyond the more than $250 billion already spent on military operations and reconstruction. Basic running costs of the current conflicts are $6 billion a month – a figure that reflects the Pentagon’s unprecedented reliance on expensive private contractors. Other factors keeping costs high include inducements for recruits and for military personnel serving second and third deployments, extra pay for reservists and members of the National Guard, as well as more than $2 billion a year in additional foreign aid to Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and others to reward their cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill for repairing and replacing military hardware is $20 billion a year, according to figures from the Congressional Budget Office.

But the biggest long-term costs are disability and health payments for returning troops, which will be incurred even if hostilities were to stop tomorrow. The United States currently pays more than $2 billion in disability claims per year for 159,000 veterans of the 1991 gulf war, even though that conflict lasted only five weeks, with 148 dead and 467 wounded. Even assuming that the 525,000 American troops who have so far served in Iraq and Afghanistan will require treatment only on the same scale as their predecessors from the gulf war, these payments are likely to run at $7 billion a year for the next 45 years.

All of this spending will need to be financed by adding to the federal debt. Extra interest payments will total $200 billion or more even if the borrowing is repaid quickly. Conflict in the Middle East has also played a part in doubling the price of oil from $30 a barrel just prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to $60 a barrel today. Each $5 increase in the price of oil reduces our national income by about $17 billion a year.

Even by this simple yardstick, if the American military presence in the region lasts another five years, the total outlay for the war could stretch to more than $1.3 trillion, or $11,300 for every household in the United States.

Linda Bilmes, an assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce from 1999 to 2001, teaches budgeting and public finance at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

August 15, 2005

2005.08.15: Antiwar Bulletin: 5 p.m. Union Square — Support Cindy Sheehan

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights — nyclaw01 @ 10:36 am

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 10:36 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: 5 p.m. Union Square — Support Cindy Sheehan

[Links contained in the following can be accessed at:  http://www.troopsoutnow.org/statements/cindysheehan.html ]

Monday – August 15 – Solidarity with Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is camped out in the hot desert sun, speaking out about the occupations of Iraq and Palestine and demanding answers from the criminal regime that killed her son along with more than 1800 other soldiers and more than 100,000 Iraqi people.  She has vowed to stay at the roadside encampment, called Camp Casey, until she meets with the President or is arrested.

On Monday, August 15 antiwar activists, veterans, community organizers, and military families will gather in Union Square for a demonstration of solidarity with Cindy Sheehan.  In New York City, we will gather in Union Square in Manhattan at 5:00 pm for a “Camp Casey – NYC.”  The Troops Out Now Coalition has called on local activists everywhere to demonstrate their solidarity with Cindy Sheehan on Monday

This will also be the day that the U.S.-appointed regime in Baghdad is scheduled to announce its new constitution, a reactionary document forced on the people of Iraq at gunpoint.  August 15 is also the day that occupation forces are scheduled to withdraw from Gaza.  This will be an excellent day, not only to stand in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, but to echo her statement: “” I want him to tell me is ‘just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism.  There, I used the ‘I’ word – imperialism, and now I’m going to use another ‘I’ word – impeachment – because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

Update on Cindy Sheehan

Update- Dozens of protesters from across the country have joined Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey, the roadside encampment where she waits to speak to President Bush about the war and about the death of her son.

President George W. Bush thought he could escape the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq by hiding out on his 1,600-acre Crawford, Texas, ranch for a five-week vacation. But the horrors of the war have followed him to his vacation hideaway.

Cindy Sheehan–whose 24-year old son, Spc. Casey Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., was killed in Baghdad’s Sadr City on April 4, 2004–is determined to confront Bush.  She said at a press conference today, “The election of Nov. 2 was not George Bush’s accountability moment. This is George Bush’s accountability moment, and I’m not leaving Crawford until we hold him accountable.”

Camp Casey has grown to about 50 people, including other military families, veterans, and activists from all over the region, and there are predictions that numbers will swell to several thousand this weekend.  Organizers are asking anyone who can to join them in Crawford, Texas.

Sheehan has vowed to stay in Texas, saying that there only three things that would prompt her to leave, she said: “a good meeting with the president, the end of August, or I get arrested.”

Facing enormous public pressure, President Bush felt compelled to respond to Cindy Sheehan.

Support Cindy Sheehan:

1) Organize a local Solidarity event on Monday, August 15.  Email us with details and we’ll help get the word out.

2) Call, fax, and email the White House and ask the staff there to contact the President on his ranch and ask him to meet with Cindy Sheehan.

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

FAX: 202-456-2461

E-Mail comments@whitehouse.gov

3) Sign the online petition.

4) Join Cindy Sheehan in Texas

5) Get on the bus for September 24 to Shut the War Down!

Download Flyers

Donate to help with buses and organizing expenses

 

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