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Thursday, August 16, 2007

THE WAR AT HOME: WHAT THE IRAQ WAR HAS COST MICHIGAN AND THE COUNTRY

MoveOn.org "Cost of War Report" Released Today

NEARLY A HALF-TRILLION DOLLARS SPENT ON AN UNWINNABLE CIVIL WAR COULD HAVE IMPROVED THE COMMUNITIES OF OUR 15TH DISTRICT IN MANY WAYS. READ THIS REPORT, SPONSORED BY MOVEON.ORG, FOR A SUMMARY OF THE EXPENSES OF THE WAR FOR OUR DISTRICT, THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, AND THE NATION.

All of the MoveOn State Congressional District Reports being released today may be found here.
THE WAR AT HOME: WHAT THE IRAQ WAR HAS COST MICHIGAN'S 15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Each and every day, it is becoming more evident that the Bush Administration is wasting billions of taxpayers' dollars on an endless, religious civil war that cannot be won.

On average, $275 million is spent every day on the war in Iraq—that is an average of $4,100 for every household in the United States over the course of the war. And those costs are continuing to rise with no end in sight.

Last month, Congress voted for an additional $100 billion in spending. That makes the total funding appropriated for the war in Iraq so far $456 billion. The cost to Michigan taxpayers alone is $12.12 billion. And taxpayers in the 15th congressional district alone are paying $872 million for the Iraq war. The money being spent in Iraq could be used to improve the lives of Americans instead of putting them at risk. Congress must act quickly to rein in this reckless president and bring an end to this war.

With the costs of the war expected to ultimately double, taxpayers in Michigan cannot afford another $872 million to keep our troops stuck in an unwinnable civil war in Iraq—especially when our communities are paying such a heavy price.

Impact on The Community
· The cost to Michigan taxpayers alone is $12.12 billion.
· Taxpayers in the 15th congressional district are paying $872 million for the Iraq war.

Trade Offs for Michigan's 15th District

Currently, 47 million Americans lack health insurance, Head Start is underfunded, college tuition is skyrocketing, our homeland is not secure with only one out of every 20 port containers getting inspected and our bridges and roads are aging. The $872 million being spent on the unwinnable civil war in Iraq should be put to better use for American taxpayers where we need it most—in our own backyard, fixing our aging bridges and roads or improving the lives of our residents.

What Citizens of Michigan's 15th District Could Have Gotten Instead:

· Health care coverage for 299,733 people—or 596,091 kids, or
· Head Start for 130,745 additional kids, or
· 12,163 new elementary school teachers, or
· 94,662 scholarships to make college more affordable, or
· Renewable electricity for 1,225,718 homes, or
· 7,030 affordable housing units, or
· 18,857 public safety officers to keep the streets safe

Promises Broken

President Bush Told Us the War Would Cost $50 billion...
In late 2002, President Bush's Budget Director estimated that the cost of the war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion. When Bush's chief economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, publicly estimated that the war in Iraq might cost $100 billion to $200 billion, he was fired. [New York Times, 12/31/02; Time Magazine, 12/23/02]
·
Nine Times That Amount Has Already Been Spent...
With Congress' recent vote for an additional $100 billion in war spending, Congress has so far appropriated more than $450 billion for the war in Iraq. [National Priorities Project, 8/07]
·
Ultimately, the War In Iraq May Cost Twenty Times What We Were Told...
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the war in Iraq could ultimately cost twice as much as what has already been spent—more than $1 trillion. [Boston Globe, 8/1/07]
·
Failed Policies
Despite High Costs and Lost Lives, We Remain in an Unwinnable Religious Civil War...
According to the January 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, "... the term 'civil war' accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict...." [Baltimore Sun, 2/3/07]
·
A quarterly Pentagon report said that last October through December was the most violent three-month period since 2003. The report concluded, "Some elements of the situation in Iraq are properly descriptive of a civil war,' including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities and mobilization, the changing character of the violence and population displacements." [Sun Sentinel, 3/15/07]
·
Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs said of the Iraq war: "It is a civil war." [Meet the Press, 6/10/07]
·
· NBC News has branded the Iraq conflict a civil war. [Reuters, 11/27/06]

The Cost of War Has Been Dramatically Increasing and Hurting Communities...
Annual costs have risen every year since the war began. Fiscal Year 2007 appropriations for the Iraq War are almost twice as much as what they were three years ago in FY2004 and 2.5 times more than the costs in FY2003. [Congressional Research Service, 3/14/07]
·
The Iraq war has diverted U.S. government funding away from homeland security efforts (an estimated 9 percent of our FY2007 national security budget) and toward the war in Iraq (21 percent of the FY2007 budget). [Center for American Progress, 7/27/07]
·
The War in Iraq Has Made Us Less Safe At Home...
In July, the National Intelligence Estimate reported that al Qaeda will try to tap its allies and resources in Iraq in its efforts to exact another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The report concluded: "We assess that its association with [al Qaeda in Iraq] helps al Qaeda to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for homeland attacks." [CNN, 7/17/07]
·
A National Intelligence Estimate report released last September found that the war in Iraq has become a "cause célèbre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better. The report concluded: "If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."[Associated Press, 9/26/06]

Former Military Generals Believe War is a Failure...
Retired Major General John Batiste, who was commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq from August 2002 to June 2005, called the war a "failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps." [Associated Press, 5/25/07]
·
Retired Lieutenant General William Odom on the Iraq War: "The worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States." [Pasadena Star News, 10/22/06]
·
Retired four-star Marine General Joseph Hoar, the former head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) which includes the Iraq theater of operations, urged a full pull-out of U.S. forces from Iraq. Hoar: "In the Marines, we say, 'When you're in a hole, stop digging.'" [UPI, 1/19/07]
·
The War's Cost in Each Michigan District:

1st $607 million
2nd $759 million
3rd $818 million
4th $695 million
5th $706 million
6th $729 million
7th $804 million
8th $935 million
9th $1.16 billion
10th $938 million
11th $1.05 billion
12th $833 million
13th $555 million
14th $642 million
15th $872 million
Total $12.12 billion

Data Sources for this Report

Unless otherwise indicated, the figures provided for the cost of the war for each district and specific tradeoffs are all from the National Priorities Project, available on the web here. The cost of war is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated money for war so far and research by the Congressional Research Service which has access to Department of Defense financial reports. The trade-offs are based on average cost per unit information for each state. More detailed information on the sources and the calculations of the averages can be obtained here.
If you wish to join efforts to bring the troops and the money back home where they belong, consider attending one of the local vigils to end the war being organized around the country for August 28. Information on the Ann Arbor event may be found here.

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