Friday, March 28, 2008

The $3 Trillion Mistake

This is old news but still deserving of comment.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently co-authored a book (with Linda Bilmes)
, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict, which puts the real cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq to the U.S. economy at roughly $ 3 trillion. They estimate that the war has cost the rest of the world another $ 3 trillion. And they claim that war will ultimately add another $2 trillion to our already enormous $5 trillion national debt. Who has profited from this expensive debacle? The defense and oil industries, the very industries who largely bankrolled the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Now, I'm usually not a fan of Nobel-Prize winning economists. The Nobel Prize in Economics was created later than the original 5 Nobel Awards (Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace) at the urging of and with funding from a group of Swedish bankers. Throughout its history, it has been used to ratify and legitimate what I would call "pro-capitalist," or what some heterodox economists aptly dub "autistic", classical and neoclassical economic dogma. Indeed, a Nobel Prize in Economics is often nothing more than license to perpetuate anti-worker lies and myths under the cover of scholarly respectability. Witness the case of Milton Friedman, who won the prize in 1976 at around the time he was acting as adviser to the bloodthirsty and criminal Pinochet junta in Chile. Usually when I hear "Nobel Laureate in Economics", I prepare myself for an onslaught of reactionary ideology dressed up in the language of "rational game theory" and buttressed by an arsenal of fudged statistics. So, the fact that someone like Stiglitz -- a rather mild-mannered and moderate critic of neoclassical economics-- is taking aim at the Bush administrations' expensive folly in Iraq is noteworthy. And, yes, welcome...Read more below

The $3 trillion war in Iraq

Only two winners have emerged from the conflict: oil companies and defence contractors...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

As we approach the 5th anniversary of the illegal, catastrophic and mind-numbingly cruel U.S. invasion of Iraq, it is important to recognize what is really driving American imperialism and militarism: corporate greed, inter-imperialist rivalry and what Eisenhower famously called the military-industrial complex.It's also important to recognize that that U.S. has been an imperialist power almost since its inception and became the world's major imperialist power in the aftermath of WWII (although the USSR certainly was a close second). The American seizure of Iraq was just the latest in a very long line of "intervensions" that have overthrown governments-- often popularly elected governments-- around the globe. This is a point that is that is underscored by this clever little video: