Whose Sacrifice?

Although President Bush and his top advisers have yet to admit it, continuing events in Iraq reveal fundamental miscalculations and multiple policy failures on the part of the administration. Those failures have left the White House looking out of control of the situation in post-war Iraq because—despite the post-war bravado of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and the president's "bring 'em on" rhetoric—they are losing their grip. The president just calls for more "sacrifice"—instead of acknowledging miscalculations on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, the reception of the Iraqi people to their American "liberators," the unexpected level of resistance to American occupation, the cost and scope of reconstruction, the American unilateralism that has made needed international help so difficult to obtain, and the abysmal lack of a post-conflict plan (to name just a few).

But who will do the sacrificing? President Bush has asked for $87 billion dollars more to pay for the American occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, after an initial $79 billion last spring. News reports reveal the comparative costs and "sacrifices" of this enormous expenditure: The entire proposed fiscal year budget for the Department of Health and Human Services is $66 billion; for the Department of Education, $53 billion. The total amount for all 50 states to meet their projected budget shortfalls this year is $78 billion. Meanwhile, the federal deficit is now projected to rise above $500 billion in fiscal year 2004.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2003
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