Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cost of War 3 Trillion as Public Looses interest

Public looses interest in War as violence increases in Iraq and the Middle East commander who disagrees with Bush Administration policy abruptly quits. Meanwhile experts conservatively predict Bush's war will cost the US 3 trillion - much of the cost coming after Bush's departure from office.

US public losing interest in Iraq as news coverage wanes: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) — A sharp fall in US media coverage of the Iraq war has left Americans less interested in and knowledgeable about the conflict, a report by the independent Pew Research Center showed Wednesday.

"The drop in awareness comes as press attention to the war has waned," the report said.

A scant three percent of news stories in February were devoted to the Iraq war, compared with around 15 percent in July last year, and the US public has not perceived the war, which began nearly five years ago, as a top news story since October, the report noted.

Meanwhile, 28 percent of 1,003 adults polled last month for Pew correctly estimated the number of US military fatalities in Iraq at around 4,000, compared with 54 percent who got the figure right seven months ago, the report said.

More than one-third -- 35 percent -- estimated that 3,000 had been killed, 11 percent put the toll at 2,000 deaths, and just under a quarter said the number of fatalities was closer to 5,000.

The Department of Defense confirmed the deaths of 3,974 US military personnel in Iraq as of Monday, according to Pew.

"As news coverage of the war has diminished, so too has public interest in news about Iraq," the report said.

And with the waning interest in news about Iraq, there has been a "significant increase in the number of Americans who believe that military progress is being made in Iraq," it said, citing another poll.

Iraq Violence Sees Spike

BAGHDAD (AP) — Violence appeared to be on the rise in Iraq after a day that saw at least 42 people die — numbers that cast doubt on the easing of sectarian violence following a surge of U.S. forces to the country last year.

An Iraqi official confirmed the grisliest attack of Tuesday when 16 passengers on a bus in southern Iraq were killed by a roadside bomb. The U.S. military, however, claimed no one died in the attack, which was targeting a passing military convoy. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

At least 26 people were killed Tuesday in other violence around the country.

Last Thursday, two massive bombs killed 68 people in Baghdad's Karradah neighborhood, while on March 3, two car bombs killed 24 people in the capital.

Military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said Sunday that recent violence should not be taken as evidence of "an increase or a trend of an increase."

The top US military commander running the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq quit abruptly yesterday

The Bush administration today moved to downplay divisions within the Pentagon over its Iraq war strategy exposed by the sudden departure of its Middle East commander Admiral William Fallon.Admiral William Fallon resigned yesterday after Esquire magazine described him as a lonely crusader blocking the hawks in the Bush administration from ordering military strikes to shut down Iran's nuclear programme.

The White House today denied that Fallon was forced out because he was pressing the
administration to draw down US troop levels in Iraq and encourage more diplomacy with Iran.

Fallon's exit arrives at a time when the Pentagon is engaged in intense debate over its Iraq war strategy - especially troop levels - in the remaining months of Bush's presidency. General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq, is due to present his next report on the progress of the war to Congress.

The army chief of staff, George Casey, Fallon and other senior military officials have been pressing for more rapid withdrawals of US troops in Iraq because they fear long deployments are degrading the military.

In the Esquire article, Fallon had criticised the administration's preoccupation with Iraq, saying "our nation can't afford to be mesmerized by one problem".

However, Bush wants to maintain what was originally described as a temporary "surge" of forces in Iraq. Petraeus, now considered as a possible successor to Fallon, has talked about a "pause" in withdrawals for four to six weeks.

The admiral's departure after just a year in the job brought renewed charges from Democrats in Congress that the White House was stifling dissent from uniformed military professionals.

It also revived speculation that the White House continues to consider military action against Tehran -- months after intelligence agencies reached a consensus that its nuclear programme was on hold.

Today, Hillary Clinton called on the armed services committee to investigate whether Fallon had been pushed out for opposing military action against Iran. John Kerry has echoed her views, and two senior members of Congress had pressed the Pentagon to allow Fallon to testify on the Iraq war before his resignation.

"I am profoundly concerned that Admiral Fallon has decided to take this measure, and I'm hoping that we can hear from him in a more specific way in the future," Democratic senator James Webb said yesterday.

Whether or not Congress summons Fallon to address his departure, he is likely to face the issue publicly in the coming days, said Lawrence Korb, a Reagan-era Pentagon official who now serves at the Centre for American Progress.

"I think you will see him appear before Congress to talk about his views on the whole Middle East and the challenges affecting the US, and the circumstances of his leaving would come up," Korb said.

Fallon will be temporary replaced at US central command by his deputy, Lieutenant General

Before Bush ordered the military "surge" in Iraq last year, one of Fallon's superiors testified before Congress that Dempsey did not think adding more troops would help the US succeed in Iraq

The 3 Trillion Dollar War

With the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war just days away. Ahead of that
anniversary, two prominent US economists have come up with a new estimate on the cost to the economy of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. That figure is $US3 trillion ($3.22 trillion).

At the same time, a parliamentary committee in the UK has estimated that Britain's
expenditure on military operations on the same fronts will almost double this year.
Former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz and a professor of Public Finance at Harvard University, Linda Bilmes, have written a book with that figure in mind: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.

The authors say the $600 billion spent so far on the war is only the tip of the iceberg.Professor Bilmes told ABC Radio National's Breakfast program yesterday that the authors' estimate took into account a number of long-term indirect costs of the conflict.

"It's the cost of providing medical care to the veterans, the cost of providing disability compensation to the veterans, the cost of replacing the military equipment and weaponry that's been used up," she said.

"And the cost of essentially resetting the military personnel to their pre-war state of readiness, and then there is the cost of paying the interest on the money that we borrowed to fight the war so far, so all those numbers are not included in the top line result."

"We have tried to be very, very conservative. Extremely conservative. We could have called this book the $4 trillion or the $5 trillion war but we tried to be as conservative as possible because, frankly, we didn't want to quibble with anyone about the particular details," she said.

"We were trying to just get a sort of realistic sense of how much it was costing."

No comments:

amazon quicklinker

Favorites linker

google adds