The real cost of war and occupation

  • Tens of thousands dead
  • Billions wasted each month

GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair say the cost of war in Iraq is a price worth
paying. But who is paying it?

Paula Mitchell

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

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.