Tomgram: Iraq, 2003-2008, Two Recipes for Disaster
The Commander-in-Chef Cooks Up a Storm: Recipes for Disaster in Iraq
By Tom Engelhardt and Frida Berrigan
In the week that oil prices once again crested above $100 a barrel and more Americans than at any time since the Great Depression owed more on their homes than the homes were worth; in the year that the subprime market crashed, global markets shuddered, the previously unnoticed credit-default swap market threatened to go into the tank, stagflation returned, unemployment rose, the “R” word (for recession) hit the headlines (while the “D” word lurked), within weeks of the fifth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, the President of the United States officially discovered the war economy.
George W. Bush and Laura Bush were being interviewed by NBC’s Ann Curry when the subject turned to the war in Iraq. Curry reminded the President that his wife had once said, “No one suffers more than their president. I hope they know the burden of worry that’s on his shoulders every single day for our troops.” The conversation continued thusly:
“Bush: And as people are now beginning to see, Iraq is changing, democracy is beginning to tak[e] hold. And I’m convinced 50 years from now people look back and say thank God there was those who were willing to sacrifice.
“Curry: But you’re saying you’re going to have to carry that burden… Some Americans believe that they feel they’re carrying the burden because of this economy.
“Bush: Yeah, well —
“Curry: They say — they say they’re suffering because of this.
“Bush: I don’t agree with that.
“Curry: You don’t agree with that? Has nothing do with the economy, the war? The spending on the war?
“Bush: I don’t think so. I think actually, the spending on the war might help with jobs.
“Curry: Oh, yeah?
“Bush: Yeah, because we’re buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses.”
In other words, in honor of the soon-to-arrive fifth anniversary of his war without end, the President has offered a formula for economic success in bad times that might be summed up this way: less houses, more bases, more weaponry, more war. This, of course, comes from the man who, between 2001 and today, presided over an official Pentagon budget that leapt by more than 60% from $316 billion to $507 billion, and by more than 30% since Iraq was invaded. Looked at another way, between 2001 and the latest emergency supplemental request to pay for his wars (first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq), supplemental funding for war-fighting has jumped from $17 billion to $189 billion, an increase of 1,011%. At the same time, almost miraculously, the U.S. armed forces have been driven to the edge of the military equivalent of default.
Read Tom and Frida’s two recipes and much more here.