War in Iraq or $1,075?
“What Would You Rather Have: The War in Iraq, or $1,075?”
Frankly, I’m astounded that the cost is that low. Indeed, let’s rephrase the question: “What Would You Rather Have: 26,783,383 Iraqis free to chose their own government or a new Dell desktop?” Or perhaps, “What Would You Rather Have: Saddam Hussein killing thousands of people a year or a new transmission for the minivan?”
Given the chaos that has followed the regime change phase of our operation, there are many good reasons to wonder whether having gone into Iraq was a great idea. The economic hit to the taxpayer is not among them.
UPDATE: Andrew Daniller joins several commenters below in wondering how democratic Iraq really is: “Iraqis are not free to choose their own government (they’re too busy avoiding militias; chaos isn’t democracy), and thousands of people are dying right now.”
As I note in my very short post, it’s an open question of whether the war was a good thing or bad thing. If things continue on their present course, probably the latter.
Still, one can’t deny that there have now been a succession of free elections in Iraq. With legitimate candidates and people legitimately free to choose those they preferred. And with high turnout despite threats of violence.
One can have democracy and chaos simultaneously. France did on multiple occasions in the century or so after their Revolution. India has, too, off and on since independence.
Had the question been posed as “What would you rather have: Saddam in power or tens of thousands of dead Iraqis?” it would have been much more difficult to answer. With the outcome as uncertain as it is, I’d have to say the former. But, weighed only against a few day’s take-home pay, I’d have to say the cost has been worth the potential payoff.