I have been checking. As of 8:15 am, Saturday, December 3rd, 2005 George Bush’s war in Iraq had cost the United States some $223, 848, 120, 256.00, which works out to about $3, 400.00 per American family. And then there are the 2,127 American war dead and some 15,000 wounded. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the monetary cost for the war will climb at six to nine billion dollars a month, or about 2 billion dollars a week, or $125,000 every minute, or about $2,083.00 every second, win or lose.
When he first ran for President in 2000 George Bush rationalized the loss of revenue created by his tax cuts by suggesting he would skip the next generation of new weapons systems for the Pentagon. In 2001 Rummy’s Pentagon reduced production on the next generation F-22 Raptor to just 10 aircraft in 2001 and 13 in 2002. Beginning in 2003, paying for the Bush war in Iraq without inconveniencing our wealthiest patriots forced the Pentagon to reduce the total F-22 program from a (hopefully)  eventual 331 aircraft to just  295. Fewer aircraft of course meant that the cost of each aircraft went up, adding to the pressure to reduce the total even further. Last year, under cover of the News “holiday dead zone” the Pentagon announced plans to push back replacing our fleet of F-15C Eagles and F-16 Hornets by a decade, until some of them are 40 years old.

But according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor during recent joint war games with the Indian Air Force, pitting their pilots in new Russian built Sukhois Su-30 MKI  fighters against American pilots in the aging F-15 C’s and F-16’s, the Indians beat our pants off.  Reporter Scott Baldauf wrote; “Military experts say the joint exercises occurred at a time when America’s fighter jet prowess is slipping. Since the US victories in the first Gulf War…the Russians and French have improved the…avionics and weapons capabilities of their Sukhoi and Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft.”

Baldauf noted, “The U.S. should be more wary about presuming global air superiority – the linchpin of its military might.” According to Vinod Patney, a retired Indian Air Force Marshal, “The Sukhoi is a better plane than the F-16.”   And its technology is already 20 years younger.

In the November 17, 2005 edition of The CSM, staff writer Robert Marquand wrote,
“In a surprisingly short time China has…(created) an army within an army…this modern force,… about 15% of the (2.3 million member People’s Liberation Army)..is to conduct lightning attacks…using all-out missile attack…and a modern sea and air attack coordinated by high-tech communications…(The PLA) has improved its factory quality control and its ability to adapt foreign technology,…is bringing an indigenous small-wing F-10 fighter off the production line, and is moving rapidly toward a blue water Navy with ships built in China.”  And China now has 400 of those new, lethal Sukhois.

James Mulvenon, who works for the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis is quoted as saying, “The PlA has…gone from dirt to wireless in a generation…U.S planners no longer talk dismissively of China’s power or, potentially, its reach. In a key shift, U.S. ability to quickly and easily defend Taiwan…is no longer a given. Chinese cruise missiles are creating a more lethal environment in the Taiwan Straits.”
In another context, (describing Bush’s Iraqi war) Joseph L. Galloway, senior correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and co-author of “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young”, told the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star, “Now they’ve broken the Army, and after this administration is history, it will take 12 or 15 or 20 years to repair the damage it’s inflicted on an institution that our country desperately needs…”

The US. Military is drowning, tied to the Republican Parties ideological stone of “No New Taxes”. With a desperate shortfall in military requiting, a shortfall in military spending for new technology, in a shortfall of funds for domestic programs such as highway maintenance, but with skyrocketing costs of their giveaways to big oil and big corporations, the GOP is now looking to cut social programs for those Americans most in need, such as the prescription drug program – as if anything approaching the amounts needed to pay for the Bush deficit could have ever have been found there.

It seems the Bush Tax Cuts are more important to the Republican Party than patriotism. It seems the top 1% of American Taxpayers love their country like a glutton loves his lunch. How else to explain the poverty straights the GOP, which controls both congress and the White House, have allowed our military to fall into. This is not the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater or Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan.

The quagmire in Iraq is just the tip of the iceberg. The true cost of the Bush tax cuts may very well come due when American airmen and women face opponents in the next decade who are better armed and better supported by their political and business leaders than are ours.

America was once a great nation. And then we forgot that greatness requires sacrifice by all citizens, rich as well as poor.    

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