March 20, 2006

IRAQ WAR COSTS TO INCREASE

Around the US and the world, the third anniversary of the Bush administration's preemptive war against Iraq was marked by protests. Support for the war has dropped dramatically among US citizens and the majority of US troops now favor leaving Iraq within a year if not sooner (see Goat Rope Archives, March 3 posting).

The war has now taken the lives of over 2,300 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis. Nearly 17,000 US soldiers have been wounded.

But while public support of the war is dropping, the economic costs to the US are only increasing. According to Bloomberg.com, "U.S. military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan will average 44 percent more in the current fiscal year than in fiscal 2005, the Congressional Research Service said." For more, click:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0317-01.htm

This means an increase in monthly war spending from $6.8 billion to $9.8 billion.

Combined with huge tax cuts aimed primarily at the wealthy since 2001, the war has led to record deficits. Last week, the US Senate raised the debt ceiling to nearly $9 trillion.

Ironically, rather than rolling back some of the tax cuts for those who least need them or working for a viable exit strategy from Iraq, the administration and congressional leaders cut social services for low income and working people by $40 billion for the last fiscal year and will attempt to do so again this year, even though these cuts will not result in deficit reduction.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: GETTING HIGHER

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