Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Serious Economic Harm

What is the "environmental" health of Iraq right now? Does the question seem silly and irrelevant? After all, by watching T.V. newscasts and reading various accounts, Iraq appears to be a country residing in some inner circle of Dante's Inferno or straight out of the movie Apocalypse Now.

T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia, said 86 years ago (referring to British occupation) that Iraq was "a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor." Cicero, the Roman politician and philosopher, reminded his fellow citizens that, "to be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child." Cicero was murdered not long after the Roman Republic collapsed.

I don't know. But I found myself wondering a few days ago, after another bomb had exploded in Baghdad, with all the smoke and gasoline fumes, how bad was asthma among Iraq's children? But if you're getting shot and blown up on a daily basis, asthma rates may not be very important. What about all those uranium-tipped shell casings lying around. Is that harmful to your health?

I even found myself thinking about people's pets. Are there many anymore? Do they just shoot dogs wandering in the streets? After all, they could be carrying rabies. But why would we care about other species? We don't seem especially interested in our own. Then there's deforestation, water pollution, destruction of flora and fauna....

And what about the man-child playing President of the United States? Back in 2001 George Bush stated that the U.S. could under no circumstances support the Kyoto Protocol, a tentative step in addressing global warming. It would cause "serious harm" to the American economy. It would cost good paying American jobs he told us. What's the world's worst polluter to do? Simply put Kyoto would cost to much money. After all, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, heavily funded by Exxon, called global warming junk science or words to that effect.

Back in 2000 a figure of $325 billion was used, as the amount of money the U.S. would have to spend over many decades to be in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

Bush estimated that--before the invasion--the cost of the Iraq war would be about $50 billion, not that much for the world's most powerful country. At the present time the war has actually cost the United States more than $300 billion. If we include the estimated financial cost to Iraq and to the other "coalition" countries, the total world cost of the Iraq war is some $500 billion.

The Iraq war is costing the United states somewhere around $4 billion every month. We may reach a trillion dollars before it's all over. But climate experts now think that the goals of Kyoto need to be far more demanding and stringent if we are to slow down global warming. So perhaps spending all that money to kill all those terrorists in Iraq has turned out to be the right thing. Do you think so?

Anyone interested in assorted financial costs of the Iraq War and the Kyoto Protocol can go to Climate Ark at and Information Clearinghouse News at

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