By the figures the administration believes it has cost $10 million for every dead Iraqi. In reality increased Iraqi deaths since the war are ten times that so it is a million dollars a body. Maybe we should have followed the Afghanistan model and just given $10,000 for every possible terrorist killed or turned in. Of course, we ended up with hundreds of people just turned in for the money, many we still have in Gitmo. Still, a million is a lot of money. Could we have given everyone in Iraq $10,000 if they said they loved America? That would have cost about half as much.
There was a similar proposal in the Vietnam War to drop hundred of millions of dollars in guns, ammo, radios, TVs, clothes, food, and books about both democracy and over throwing governments in North Vietnam and seeing if a pro-Western underground could get established. It would have cost less than the bombing campaigns and might have been more effective. Of course, that was only proposed in a science fiction magazine.
Early this year the Bush administration is to ask Congress to approve an additional $100bn for the onerous task of making life intolerable for the Iraqis. This will bring the total spent on the White House's current obsession with war to almost $500bn - enough to have given every US citizen $1,600 each. I wonder which the voters would have gone for if given the choice: shall we (a) give every American $1,600 or (b) spend the money on bombing a country in the Middle East that doesn't use lavatory paper?
Of course, there's another thing that George Bush could have done with the money: he could have given every Iraqi $18,700. I imagine that would have reduced the threat of international terrorism somewhat. Call me old-fashioned, but I can't help thinking that giving someone $18,700 brings them round to your side more quickly than bombing the hell out of them. They could certainly buy a lot of lavatory paper with it.