Daily archives: October 5th, 2009

As Afghanistan Enters Year 9, We Tally the Cost of War

It’s time to take stock of the numbers again, as the war in Afghanistan enters its ninth year Tuesday.

Our National Debt stands at $11,930,445,364,162.68 as of this writing. That’s a tad under $12 trillion.

The Total Cost of War since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began is currently $917,149,614,395. That’s just under $1 trillion. $688,690,605,993 has been spent in Iraq, $228,459,269,025 in Afghanistan. If the numbers don’t add up, that’s because the counter at CostofWar.com is constantly moving. The total right now is $917,150,203,805.

Yes, they’re pretty accurate. Here’s more about the counters:

The numbers indicate all of the approved funding for the wars to date. In addition to this approved amount, the FY2010 budget shows a $130 billion request for more war spending. This would bring total war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $1 trillion. When all FY2010 war-related amounts are approved, we will adjust the counters so that they reach the new totals at the end of FY2010.

If you should compare the amount displayed on the Cost of War counters with the numbers available in our information sheets, please note that the information sheets include all war spending to date, the same number that the counters will reach at the end of the 2009 fiscal year.

Total War Funding since 2001

To date, $915.1 billion dollars have been allocated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This counter is designed so that on September 30, 2009, the end of the federal government’s 2009 fiscal year, the counter will reach that total number. Likewise, counters found here for states and towns will also reach their portion of this number at the end of FY2009.

Cost of War in Iraq since 2003

To date, $687 billion dollars have been allocated to the war in Iraq since 2003. This counter is designed so that on September 30, 2009, the end of the federal government’s 2009 fiscal year, the counter will reach that total number. Please note that the cost of war in Iraq has decreased since our last estimate. This is because a larger proportion of spending was allocated to Afghanistan than originally estimated.

Cost of War in Afghanistan since 2001

To date, $228 billion dollars have been allocated to the war in Afghanistan since 2001. This counter is designed so that on September 30, 2009, the end of the federal government’s 2009 fiscal year, the counter will reach that total number. To learn more about the cost of war in Afghanistan, see our April 2009 publication.

Here’s the Cost of War in Iraq:

Here’s the Cost of War in Afghanistan:

Here is the total of both wars combined:

Now, the human loss…

4,347 Americans have died in Iraq since the war began on March 19, 2003. 3,475 of them died in combat.

869 Americans have died in Afghanistan. 219 from the UK died in Afghanistan, 356 from other countries, for a total of 1,444 dead on the coalition side.

Somewhere between 93,345 and 101,862 Iraqi civilians have died in the war in Iraq. That’s civilians. Just Foreign Policy puts the total number of civilians due to the war at 1,339,771.

The Washington Post currently lists 5,130 Americans dead in both wars, and has pictures of all of the fallen.

President Obama, these are your wars now.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The Economic Bill of Rights”

This was once America, rescued at last from the gilded age.

We can do this again. We can revive and seal the New Deal.

The rich were on board because they had lived through the Great Depression, and they knew a thriving middle class was the path to the future of a strong America. Less for a few meant more for all.

Let’s make this happen again.

From FDR:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

source: The Public Papers & Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Samuel Rosenman, ed.), Vol XIII (NY: Harper, 1950), 40-42 

Michelle Obama Parries Big Bird’s Demand for President’s Birth Certificate

First Lady Michelle Obama handled herself well in the face of the worst attack yet by Birthers, this time coming face to face with Sesame Street’s Big Bird.

Big Bird, remember, was hatched.

Thanks to Conan O’Brien for sharing this remarkable footage with us.

Here’s a transcription:

Conan O’Brien: First lady Michelle Obama just made an appearance on "Sesame Street." It was all going very well. But then Big Bird showed up and things got a little uncomfortable.

Big Bird: Well, look who’s here to push her husband’s socialist health care agenda.

Michele Obama: Well, Big Bird …

Big Bird: Or maybe you’re here to finally show us your husband’s United States birth certificate.

Michele Obama: No, Big Bird, I’m not.

Big Bird: That’s ’cause you can’t.

Enjoy the video.

David Letterman Apologizes to his Wife on Monday’s Show

From the Associated Press, via the Sun-Times:

David Letterman apologized to his wife on Monday’s “Late Show,” saying she had been “horribly hurt by my behavior.”

The late-night host vowed to repair his relationship with his wife, Regina Lasko.

“Let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me,” said Letterman, according to an early transcript of the program released by CBS.

Letterman also apologized to his staff.  From the New York Times:

The comedian also apologized to the members of his staff saying, “I’m terribly sorry that I put the staff in that position.” He labeled his mistake as inadvertent because “I just wasn’t thinking ahead.” He thanked the staff for being supportive and for “putting up with something stupid I’ve gotten myself involved in.”

Though Mr. Letterman said last Thursday that he hoped not to have to make any further comment on the incident, the details of his relationships, especially with a personal assistant, and his future at CBS, have continued to be the subject of intense scrutiny in the media.

Last week, some of his staff members suggested that Regina Lasko, Mr. Letterman’s wife, might make a statement of support. But that did not take place. Monday night Mr. Letterman said, “When something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it’s your responsibility, you try to fix it. And at that point, there’s only two things that can happen: either you’re going to make some progress and get it fixed, or you’re going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed.”

Meanwhile, the lawyer for the man accused of the extortion attempt made a threat to “put forward evidence” that Mr. Letterman had engaged in sexual harassment of his staff members.

Look, I like David Letterman, but the question of sexual harassment is very real and the primary question here, as far as I’m concerned.  Unfortunately for the man accused in the alleged extortion attempt, it doesn’t matter if Letterman engaged in sexual harassment.  Extortion is a crime.  If there was suspicion of sexual harassment, the accused Robert Joel Halderman should have pursued legal avenues to expose the alleged harassment.

It’s too early to tell if Dave gets to keep his job.  That’s really up to CBS executives, and I suspect they’ll carefully consider the media perception and ratings.

Well, I know I’ll be watching tonight.  That’s enough of a hook to grab my attention.

61-year-old William Michael Grant Dies Trying to Retrieve Golf Ball

Okay, so I passed this up the first time I saw it and did not blog about it.   I thought, well, give the guy a break.

But then it came back today, this time in the Sun-Times:

A Texas golfer died after he fell over an embankment while trying to retrieve his golf ball.

Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich says 61-year-old William Michael Grant was playing in a golf tournament Friday at Sherrill Park Golf Course when he overshot a green.

Police say Grant was trying to get his ball when witnesses saw him slip and fall about 10 feet. Perlich says it appears Grant broke his neck.

Rest in peace, Mr. Grant.  May you find greener courses, and hit many a hole in one.