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The Price of 9/11 – Joseph E. Stiglitz

Via: Project Syndicate – A World of Ideas

The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.

Indeed, when Linda Bilmes and I calculated America’s war costs three years ago, the conservative tally was $3-5 trillion. Since then, the costs have mounted further. With almost 50% of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and health-care costs will total $600-900 billion. But the social costs, reflected in veteran suicides (which have topped 18 PER DAY in recent years) and family breakups, are INCALCULABLE.

Even if Bush could be forgiven for taking America, and much of the rest of the world, to war on false pretenses, and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture, there is no excuse for how he chose to finance it. His was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit. As America went into battle, with deficits already soaring from his 2001 tax cut, Bush decided to plunge ahead with yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy.

Today, America is focused on unemployment and the deficit. Both threats to America’s future can, in no small measure, be traced to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Increased defense spending, together with the Bush tax cuts, is a key reason why America went from a fiscal surplus of 2% of GDP when Bush was elected to its parlous deficit and debt position today. Direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion – $17,000 for every US household – with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50%.

PLEASE take a few minutes and read the rest, HERE:

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stiglitz142/English

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Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University, a Nobel laureate in economics, and the author of Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy.

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18 suicides a day: Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann

https://seattle98.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/rangers-widow-expelled-from-rumsfeld-book-signing/

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September 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ranger’s widow expelled from Rumsfeld book signing

Via: The News Tribune

Two people were removed from a Donald Rumsfeld book signing Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including the Yelm widow of an Army Ranger who blames the military for her husband’s suicide.

Security officers for the former secretary of defense escorted Ashley Joppa-Hagemann out by the arm, she said Saturday. She and Jorge Gonzalez, the executive director of Coffee Strong, a Lakewood-based anti-war group, confronted Rumsfeld as he promoted his memoir, “Known and Unknown.”

According to an account posted on Coffee Strong’s website: “Mrs. Joppa-Hagemann introduced herself by handing a copy of her husband’s funeral program to Rumsfeld, and telling him that her husband had joined the military because he believed the lies told by Rumsfeld during his tenure with the Bush administration.”

Joppa-Hagemann complained about Rumsfeld’s response Friday to her account of Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann’s multiple deployments (eight) to Iraq and Afghanistan and his death at age 25. Hagemann belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

The website said Rumsfeld’s “only response was to callously quip, ‘Oh yeah, I heard about that.’”

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/08/27/1798800/rangers-widow-expelled-from-rumsfeld.html

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Via: KPIC.com

‘Widow: After 8 deployments, Army Ranger takes own life’ (August 29, 2011)

A spokesman for the base tells KOMO News that the nature of the death is still undetermined. But Staff Sgt. Hagemann’s widow says her husband took his own life – and it didn’t need to happen.

“It was just horrible. And he would just cry,” says Ashley Hagemann.

Ashley says her husband Jared tried to come to grips with what he’d seen and done on his eight deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“And there’s no way that any God would forgive him – that he was going to hell,” says Ashley. “He couldn’t live with that any more.”

Ashley says her Army Ranger husband wanted OUT of the military.

“He just wanted to know what it felt like to be normal again,” she says.

Staff Sgt. Hagemann had orders to return to Afghanistan this month for a NINTH TOUR of duty.

http://www.kpic.com/news/local/127759193.html

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August 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment