A Better way to Wage War in Iraq

Iraqi WomenWaging war costs money. Lots and lots of money. Much more money than most of the victims of war have ever seen.

Way back in the days of the Vietnam War, I figured out that it cost $15,000 for the U.S. military to kill every Viet Cong it claimed to have killed. That was easily equal to the amount that your average Viet Cong earned in a lifetime. My logic was, why not just hand every Viet Cong you wanted to eliminate a check for $15,000, turn him into a capitalist, and save all that fuss, bother, and violence? And we wouldn’t have to send our kids into harm’s way.

I decided to work out the same figures for the war in Iraq.

Since you can’t tell who’s your enemy in this war, I figured I’d just include the whole population of Iraq in the equation. According to reliable sources (the Interwebs), Iraq has a total population of 25 million, 60% of whom are adults, which makes a total population of 15 million adults.

By all the best estimates, the war in Iraq has cost about $300 billion so far, which works out to about $20,000 apiece for every Iraqi adult. If we figure the total cost until the end of the war (about $1 trillion), that means we’re spending on the average about $66,666 apiece to wage war in Iraq.

If we just chose to not have a war, we could hand a check for that amount to every adult Iraqi. Since the average income of an Iraqi citizen was about $3000/yr. back in 80’s when things were relatively stable, and is down to about $1000/yr. now, a check for $66,666 would equal 66 years’ income for your average Iraqi. (The four Iraqi women shown in the photo with Hillary and her aide would get a total of $266,664, over a quarter of a million dollars.)

This is enough to turn them all into peaceful, America-loving citizens with an affluent Western lifestyle. Poof! No more problems. If any of them still wanted to cause difficulties, I’m sure the rest will act quickly to quiet them down. Maybe by reminding them that 30,000 of their peers didn’t have to die in a stupid war about oil. (And remember that, even with a war going on, Iraq is pulling in $20 billion a year in oil revenue, which is another $1333 per adult per year, if some way were found to divvy it up fairly.)

And we wouldn’t have to send our men and women into combat. Remember, this war has killed over 3,000 of them, crippled many more, and ruined their family lives.

Of course, the problem with this approach is that it doesn’t line the pockets of American defense contractors, and Dick Cheney’s war profiteer buddies wouldn’t make any money. Maybe we could just give every Iraqi $33,333, and hand the other half trillion over to them. Or we could advise them to go over to Iraq and sell them crap and make money that way. Isn’t that what capitalism is all about?

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One Comment on “A Better way to Wage War in Iraq”

  1. onlyocelot Says:

    Very clear thinking, yup. Lessee…how much TNT can you buy with 66,000USD? And, as we see in Iraq now, the warlords will immediately appropriate the 66Kusd from each of their minions, and then start new internicene wars to get the rest from their neighboring warlords and their minions.

    I suppose that’s very capitalist: instead of killing each other (and the US soldiers) in random bombings for muslim-sect-ish reasons, they can do it for money.


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