Crossposted at Everybody Comes From Somewhere

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders why there is not that much discussion about the amount of money we are spending in Iraq. I know the human cost is overwhelming. But I’m also outraged at the waste of money. Today the Boston Globe looks at that question with a slide show titled What Does $455 Billion Buy? Go take a look at the slide show, but here are a couple of samples:

  1. 2,949 state-of-the-art high schools
  2. A free year at Harvard for 14.5 million people
  3. Feed and educate the world’s poor for 5 1/2 years

It alternately saddens and enrages me that we are spending overwhelming amounts of money to destroy and spread hate (not to mention to enrich the corporatists). But to think for just a moment what could be accomplished with those resources…well, I’m just at a loss for words.

As if that wasn’t enough, yesterday the Washington Post reported that The Katrina Aid Program is short $3.9 billion. Here’s the money quote (so to speak):

More than 20 months after the Katrina catastrophe, tens of thousands of houses remain vacant, in part because of administrative delays in the aid program, the largest single source of direct federal help for homeowners. To date, only 16,000 of 130,000 applicants have received money.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, I’m continuing to watch the weekly vidoes produced at Hometown Baghdad. The latest episode shows Saif, one of the young men the series has been following, packing up his house to move to Jordan. The way this series is progressing, I think it will finally end with all of the videographers leaving the country. At the end of this particular video, a woman comes to his house begging and Saif, after giving her some money, says this happens 5-6 times a day. Here’s one of the comments to this particular video:

The social structure and fabric of Iraq has been destroyed. Iraq is full of beggars and homeless, including children. We are seeing the destruction of a country, its culture and its people and we are powerless to do anything.

I don’t know how to end this diary. I’d like to offer some words of hope, but I have none. I only know that today I want to bear witness to this travesty.

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