Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. Most people don’t want to think about it. Too depressing. We started the war under false pretenses, we conducted it badly, and we don’t know how to get out. That’s about as bad as it gets.

But it gets worse when you consider the bottom line. The American Friends Service Committee sent a press release the other day, quoting Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz, who estimates the one-day cost of the war at $720 million. Every day. That includes interest on the war debt and health care for 60,000 wounded vets. He estimates we’ll spend $1 trillion on these first five years when the tally is done. Since the Bush administration is trying to hide the real cost, only 40 percent is reflected in funding bills approved by Congress.

Stiglitz recently told Congress that one day of the war could fund over 34,000 four-year college scholarships or 95,000 Head Start programs. He also noted that with a fraction of what we’ve wasted on this unnecessary war, we could have made the Social Security fund solvent for at least 50 years.

So we’re paying a double cost–what we’re spending it on and what we’re not spending it on.

Here are some of the other costs:

Almost 4,000 American soldiers dead.

1 million Iraqis dead and 4 million refugees.

Losing our moral standing in the world’s eyes.

Losing our aura of military invincibility in the world’s eyes.

Increasing the likelihood that we will be a target for terrorists in the future.

A failing economy.

Loss of whatever confidence Americans still had in their government.

Loss of civil liberties to a government that says the world is too dangerous to uphold them.

Tolerating the moral compromise of condoning torture, which continues because of our silent complicity.

There’s more, but it’s too depressing for the first day of spring. Maybe, though, if we think about Iraq enough, we’ll be more likely to support the only candidate likely to change this insanity–Barack Obama.

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