Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Economic Cost of the Iraq War.

As we approach the first anniversary of the 'handover' of power in Iraq, few will be celebrating, at least in Iraq. I suppose the 'handover of power' on June 28th 2004 was an 'historic' event, but perhaps in the sense that only historians will remember it in the future. For those that have already forgotten this is how the BBC reported it at the time. It was the one where US administrator Paul Bremer had to get the hell out two days early on a plane in Tet offensive chic style because the US had by then long lost the battle for 'hearts and minds' in Iraq.

Anyway, putting the disasterous humanitarian costs of the Iraq war to one side for a moment, a British Professor of Economics, Keith Hartley, has just estimated that the total economic cost of the Iraq war has now hit the US$ 1 trillion mark. That's one thousand billion dollars. See
here. In the words of Bruce Forsyth, 'Didn't they do well?' Tony Blair is hoping that the British tabloid press don't stop blaming refugees and asylum seekers for the state of our crap public services instead of his criminal wars on Iraq and elsewhere. George Bush is probably wondering if he gets some sort of prize. Remember that for just US$ 80 billion a year, the UN estimate that they could save the lives of the 50,000 people who die each day directly as a result of poverty. I could go off on one here, but sometimes it is best to let the facts and figures speak for themselves. Those facts and figures should arguably be on the front pages of every newspaper.

Edit to add: On a BBC programme entitled 'If we stopped giving aid to Africa' on this evening, someone was complaining that the total amount of aid to Africa since 1960 amounted now to US$ 1 trillion. Perhaps the BBC should run a programme 'If we hadn't invaded Iraq'. Perhaps they will...

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