Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blood and Treasure

NYT colmumnist Frank Rich becomes the latest to complain about all the "treasure" that America is expending on the Iraq war. He says "troops and treasure," although I've been hearing "blood and treasure" a lot lately.

What is up with this "treasure" business? Are we funding the war with gold dubloons?

Is it too crass to complain about all of the MONEY we're wasting? Google reveals that "blood and treasure" can be found in a quotation from John Adams, so maybe this is supposed to be some kind of highbrow allusion, but really, I'm sensing that people are just a little reluctant to point out that we're spending a shatteringly large pile of cash in Iraq and getting a big mess in return.

Is the problem that complaining about money would make one seem insensitive to the loss of life? I'm all for putting the lives first -- it's tragic that thousands of our troops have died in this misadventure, to say nothing of all the other lives lost. But money is a legitimate concern too, particularly when you consider what else it could buy. We're spending over $100 billion per year, and that's just the direct spending cost. Normally, one might expect fiscal conservatives to holler loudly about the money.

Let's stop calling it "treasure." Americans have a right to complain about many things connected with this war, and one is the waste of good old money. This war is a huge, inefficient government program, and at the moment it looks like we're going to spend hundreds of billions more and in the end have nothing to show for it.

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