Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/349/5784
The Real Cost Of War
£125,000,000 a month. That's how much the government says it is spending on the Iraq conflict. Several defence experts argue that the real figure is £250 million.
The amount the government admits it has spent so far would pay for 280 new schools or five new hospitals. But instead it is being used to send troops to kill and be killed in a war for oil, profit and prestige.
And this money is not being used to alleviate poverty or to bring democracy to ordinary Iraqis. In Iraq today only 50% of people have clean water compared to 60% under Saddam. There is 50% unemployment and little or no electricity in the major towns. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed under the occupation. Torture is a commonplace.
Over 900 'coalition' soldiers have so far lost their lives occupying Iraq and the death toll continues to mount daily.
Most people say that they want the troops to withdraw from Iraq. But Tony Blair has no intention of doing so. On the contrary, he is intending to increase the number of British troops from 9,000 to 12,000.
Three thousand extra troops would push the monthly cost up to £300 million. That means that the £3.8 billion that Gordon Brown has so far allocated to be spent on Iraq will be nowhere near enough. On the basis of current spending continuing the occupation will cost that much every year that the troops remain.
And who knows how long that will be. Tony Blair is still trying to maintain the fiction that Iraq will achieve 'sovereignty' on 30 June. But most people have seen through this lie. As US Defence Secretary Colin Powell blurted out "some of [Iraq's] sovereignty will have to be given back"! The truth will be an appointed 'government' with real power still resting with the occupying forces.
In The Socialist 29 May 2004:
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