My name is Linda J. Bilmes and I am a professor at Harvard University. I’m not sure if you are familiar with me or my work, but I recently wrote a paper (to be found here: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=8956&type=WPN) which discusses the costs of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the tax payers of the United States. My research indicates that the total expenditures will amount to between 4 and 6 trillion dollars. ($1,000,000,000,000). That’s twelve zeros. In my opinion this number speaks for itself so I shall not delve too much further into the paper unless you wish me to do so.
I was wondering what comments you would have about a war that has been not only so costly in terms of people killed and displaced in both of the countries in question, but also in terms of wasted monies in the US at a time when the country faces such economic hardships.
I look forward to your prompt response.
Professor Linda J. Bilmes,
Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy
Former Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce
Thanks for the letter, but know this: your fancy liberal academic titles don’t impress anyone around here. You were in what administration? Clinton’s? Yeah, way to go on that one.
Who has the time to read papers such as yours? You’re lucky if I even have the energy to read the 500 words the Washington Post writes about your little bit of research. Nonetheless, I’m certain that your numbers are off and, more importantly, that you’re missing the point altogether.
I know you and your cronies will try to link the fact that the war has cost 6 trillion and the countries debt is 6 trillion, but that’s nothing more than a coincidence. This is money well spent. America would not be America if we could not defend our freedoms at any cost. You should see the back of my SUV, I have two “Freedom isn’t Free” bumper stickers just to pound the point home to anyone who is unfortunate enough to drive behind me.
On top of this, I think the liberal lobby needs to stop feeling so sorry for all these poor people in the Middle East. It’s not like they worry about you and your troubles. They aren’t producing anything of worth, and we’re clearing them out for further oil and natural gas production. Money well spent, if you ask me which, incidentally, you did. Six trillion seems like a lot of cash, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not nearly as much as you think. The forty richest men in the world combined are worth over a trillion, and that’s not even enough people to fill out the roster of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys!
What we need to do here is an old fashioned cost/benefit analysis. Six trillion spent, but untold trillions coming back to the good ole US of A in the pockets of the oil and reconstruction companies that make me so proud every day. This means more oil jobs for Americans, cheaper gasoline in the future (it’s not depleting folks, that’ll be Miss Bilmes’ next article though, I’m sure) and more American billionaires. What is required now as other only semi-capitalist nations compete with us, is more ultra-wealthy people to lead the way. I can’t do everything myself, you know.
I might add (and I will) that we are also far more safe than we were before we were so deviously drawn into those wars for which you speak. Tell me, how many major terrorist attacks have there been on American soil since September 11th, 2001? Exactly. None.
We as a society need to stop focusing on a trillion here and a trillion there and focus on the real thing that is causing us so much grief this weekend: the recent left wing portrayal of Easter as a pagan holiday. It makes me almost throw up my milk chocolate Cadbury Easter eggs that a cute multi-colored bunny brought to my house this morning. How can you so-called “historians” live with yourselves?
I can’t wait for you belly-aching about the war we’re about to start in North Korea, Linda. Are you really so un-American that you’ll oppose that one too?