Saturday, April 11, 2009

Iraq becomes the most expensive US war in history

The amount of U.S. money spent on the Iraq war will surpass the cost of Vietnam by the end of the year, making it the second most expensive military conflict in American history, behind World War II, according to Pentagon figures provided Friday.
If Congress approves the supplemental funding request submitted this week by the Obama administration, the cost of the war will rise by $87 billion for 2009, including a previous supplement approved during the Bush administration.
Added to the amount spent through 2008, it would mean the Iraq war will have cost taxpayers a total of about $694 billion. By comparison, the Vietnam War cost $686 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars and World War II cost $4.1 trillion, according to a Congressional Research Service study completed last year.

So opens Julian E. Barnes' "Cost of Iraq war will surpass Vietnam's by year's end" (Los Angeles Times) and with all that money spent on the Iraq War, you might think it would get a little coverage. You'd be thinking wrong. In today's New York Times, "Suicide Truck Bombing Kills 5 U.S. Soldiers and 2 Iraqis at Northern Base" runs on A4. The article is by Sam Dagher. It is the smallest story on the page -- anti-choice protests in Spain and the let's-sob-one-more-time over the earthquake in Italy get more coverage on A4 including photos.

The Washington Post doesn't do much better with A11 for Ernesto Londono and Dlovan Brwari's "5 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq Bombing" though it's article is a bit longer. On the plane, a man asked if he could borrow the papers. No problem. When he passed them back, he stated that he supports the Iraq War, he's a "die-hard Republican" (it was already known that I oppose the Iraq War) and that the media's efforts to "cover up for Barack" by burying incidents in Iraq "like these" are proof of their "liberal bias." The media's not conservative or liberal, it's corporate and, as Lily Tomlin noted years ago, "Big business protects itself." But I thought for a moment how wonderful it would be if the right-wing did start accusing the media of burying the Iraq War (they are burying the Iraq War) in order to aid and assist Barack Obama. The media's response to the right-wing might mean they actually do a better job.

But the fact of the matter is the media sold this illegal war and did so for a reason. People like Judith Miller (who was far from alone -- and, in fairness to Miller, she foolishly believed what she reported many others, especially prominent columnists, can't say the same) were allowed to run free because the owners wanted them to. This illegal war was wanted and the same ones who wanted are the same ones who are thrilled that the pressure is now off to end it and that so few bother to pay attention to it. If the Iraq War were front and center, the push for more war (specifically in Africa) might be stopped. There's money to be made off war and it's not just from the people building the weapons.

The Post has the stronger article and we'll note this section:

Some Mosul residents say they have come to loathe the National Police officers assigned to the city. A video that appears to show Shiite National Police officers taunting a blindfolded and handcuffed Sunni inmate in Mosul has sparked outrage among residents. It is on YouTube, and residents say it has appeared on insurgent Web sites.
The elderly, bearded detainee is shown sitting on the floor as National Police officers chant pro-Shiite slogans while they clap. A smiling lieutenant colonel is seen waving a handgun in the air to the beat of the chant. One officer standing behind the detainee can be seen shaking the man's head forcefully. The officers make reference to a military operation in the spring of 2008 in Basra, where they fought before being deployed to Mosul.
"The edges of the earth might rattle, but Imam Ali will protect it!" the officers chant, referring to a revered Shiite figure. "Your beard will never scare us, Abu Sufyan," the officers continue, referring to a historic enemy of Imam Ali.
Residents of the city say many people have seen the video. "It shows the National Police mistreating civilians," Mosul resident Jabar al-Obaidi said. "It's sectarianism, racism. This is the reason they're being targeted."

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the washington post
ernesto londono
sam dagher
the new york times