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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

War or Car?

Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 2nd, 2008

This is kind of brilliant:

The total cost of the Iraq War will be over $3 trillion, according to Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard public finance professor Linda Bilmes. ┬áThat’s enough to buy a new Toyota Prius for every household in America.

Here are some other things we could’ve done for the price of the Iraq War.

…and each “War or Car?” blog post is an example. Some recent ones:

10/02/2008: Buy a California home every 20 seconds since Greenspan promoted alternative mortgages
09/29/2008: Give every American a community college economics degree
09/26/2008: Make everybody in Philly a Scottish baron
09/25/2008: Buy each panda an Arleigh Burke class destroyer
09/13/2008: Build Large Hadron Colliders all the way up the West Coast
09/11/2008: Put a tank staffed by Petraeus duplicates on every square mile of Afghanistan:

For the price of the Iraq War, we could’ve hunted down Osama Bin Laden by placing a fully equipped M1 Abrams battle tank on every square mile of Afghanistan and staffing them entirely with duplicates of General Petraeus.

The heavily armored 67-ton M1 Abrams battle tank, which carries four crew members, is the principal combat tank of the American armed forces. A fully equipped M1 Abrams costs $4.30 million. General David Petraeus, who oversaw all US forces in Iraq, earns $180,000 per year. The area of Afghanistan is 251,772 square miles Putting an M1 Abrams on each square mile of Afghanistan and staffing them entirely with Petraeus duplicates drawing a salary equal to his would cost $1.26 trillion, which is less than half of Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes’ estimate of $3 trillion for the cost of the Iraq War.

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