The Socialist 12 March 2005
Pensions: 'We're fighting back
The real cost of war and occupation
GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair say the cost of war in Iraq is a price worth paying. But who is paying it?
At 9.05pm on Sunday 6 March, the US had spent $157,517,601,000 on the war on Iraq. Just two days before, that amount had been $350 million less. The figure goes up over by $1,000 every second.
Bush and Blair both say there is not enough money to fully fund our services. But this money would pay for 2,726,799 teachers - a figure that goes up by five teachers every three minutes. The same amount would pay for the health insurance of 94,321,947 children in the US - going up at the rate of one child per second. It would build 1,415,218 houses.
In Britain we are currently being asked to donate to Comic Relief. Buying a red nose will feed a child in Africa for a week. But the money being wasted on occupying Iraq would fully fund measures to combat global poverty for six years. It would fully fund worldwide AIDS programmes for 15 years.
The human cost of war is less easy to measure. The US "don't do body counts" - at least not of the innocent people they kill. But The Lancet medical research journal estimates that as many as 100,000 have died.
The 'coalition' forces do count the deaths of their own people. On 6 March the total was 1,685. Over 11,000 have been wounded. Colin Powell predicted that the changeover to Iraqi sovereignty would be smooth. But in fact, as we expected, the resistance has continued.
The highest death toll yet took place on 1 March at the town of Hilla, when 122 people were killed in an attack on people applying to join the security forces.
70% of people in Britain think this price is not worth paying. This bloody occupation has to stop. Join the demonstration on 19 March, and join us to fight the obscenity of a system that asks us to dig deep to relieve poverty while they spend billions on death and destruction.
In this issue