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Sunday, August 08, 2004

What The Cost Of The War In Iraq Could've Bought Us

This nice little chart, courtesy The New York Times, illustrates what improvements in "homeland security" could have been made with the money invested in the Iraq war. From the very start of our overseas operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere I questioned the Bush administration's assertion that security at home can be achieved by crushing the enemy abroad. Let us not get into how well that enemy is chosen. Let us look at the bigger picture.

I think it is not a bad idea to at times actually strike at an enemy who is easily identifiable. One, of course, must have the plan that goes beyond a mere attack,- unlike what we appear to have done in Afghanistan where rebuilding efforts don't seem to amount to much. But, to reiterate, military action is a legitimate tool in addressing the issue of terrorism,- but it is not the only tool, likely, not even the most important one.

And I think the real-world events are proving the skeptics right here. Approximate as they are, the figures in this chart illustrate that we likely could have made a very significant progress in creating real obstacles that future terrorists would be facing here at home while there does not seem any positive security effect from the war in Iraq. Also note that the measures this chart details such as surveillance at ports and improved community policing bring real security improvements to the US without eviscerating the Bill of Rights and annihilating the Americans' civil liberties the way this administration is attempting to.

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