President Bush's $2.9 trillion budget, recently sent to Congress, includes $100 billion extra for Iraq and Afghanistan wars for this year, on top of the $70 billion already allocated by Congress and $141.7 billion next year. Included in the budget is $5.6 billion to send an extra 21,500 troops to Iraq. He is giving the Pentagon an 11.3% increase for the Pentagon.
In 2006, 41% of federal tax money went for war! The cost of the Iraq war will top the total cost of the 13-year war on Vietnam, which, at todays prices, would cost taxpayers about $614 billion. The hidden cost of this war is medical care for the wounded vets which could easily reach $660 billion. More than $3 billion cannot be accounted for in Iraq.
Chuck Spinney, who worked for the Pentagon for 20 yrs., said that the Pentagon cannot account for as much as $1.1 trillion of tax money. The cost of this war would have paid for universal health care in the US, childcare for all three and four-year-olds in the country, immunization for children around the world against a host of diseases, and still have half the money used for the war left over. (New York Times) Most importantly, the money would have saved millions who died of starvation and disease in Africa and Asia. In war the poor become poorer, and the rich become richer.
Recently, it was found that 71 employees in the Executive Office of the President, which includes the White House, owe $664,527 in taxes for 2005 - at a time when taxpayers are required to pay for a war they did not start. Bush's proposal to make permanent his tax cuts for the wealthy would deepen the financial crisis in the US by an estimated $3.4 trillion between 2008 and 2017. The extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would give those with incomes greater than $1 million, the wealthiest 0.3% of the US population, an additional $162,000 a year in after-tax income by 1012. For the bottom 20% of the population, their share of the cuts would average $45. In war, the wealthy military industrial complex becomes wealthier while our young are asked to kill and be killed.
War is a sin because it deprives untold thousands of the right to life and injures many more both physically and mentally. War is terrorism because it does not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty in the taking away of life and limb, and hampers their means to sustenance. Those who started this war, supported it, and still support it, are responsible for this.
We pray our legislators will have the courage to stop the war. The best way to support the troops is to bring them home safe and sound to their families. Those who unfortunately support war should be the ones to pay for it with their money and bodies, and not force others to do their dirty work.