Was Iraq worth it? That's the economic question Democrats are again highlighting because of Gen. David Petraeus's congressional testimony this week. And implicit in that question is the assumption that even if the surge works and Iraq someday ends up as a democratic capitalist, antiterrorist ally of America, the price has been too high—James Pethokoukis
Democrats wish to frame the argument for leaving Iraq in terms of “blood and treasure,” meaning that the cost is too great both in American lives and tax payer’s money and they want to just leave. They wish to quit without regard to the consequences of that action.
Though there is no denying that the cost is great in American lives and resources. I believe that the cost is worth every life lost and every dollar spent if we defeat those who are attempting to destroy this country.
Newt Gingrich appearing on Hannity and Combs and speaking to Allan Combs put it another way when asked by Combs, how can the American people vote for someone who is out of sync with the American people’s present views on the war in Iraq?
Gingrich adeptly pointed out to Mr. Combs that he (Combs) was asking the wrong question the proper question is, are the consequences of defeat too great for America if Congress manufactures America’s defeat by sabotaging American’s war efforts. (See video)
And then James Pethokoukis of Capital Commerce says it in another way when crunching the numbers in his, “The Cost of Not Liberating Iraq.”
Mr. Pethokoukis’ cost analysis list the cost of containing Iraq, which is what we would have had to do had we not put Saddam out of power, at $350 billion to $700 billion dollars, he projects that gas prices would have risen because of our containment activities, and that the U.S. economy notwithstanding recent economic news has done remarkably well in the five years of war.
Real GDP has increased by 16 percent, or 3 percent annually. The unemployment rate has hovered below a historically low 5 percent for quite some time. Nearly 10 million jobs have been created. Household net worth has increased by $20 trillion. Industrial production has expanded by 13.5 percent.
Even home prices, despite the current correction, have increased by 20 percent. Global GDP has averaged nearly 5 percent annually. The capitalization of the world's stock markets increased 159 percent, or $35 trillion. Meanwhile, new emerging-market economies saw their stock market index collectively rise by 223 percent.
In all I agree with Gingrich and Pethokoukis. Gingrich believes that if Congress manufactured a defeat in Iraq it would hurt America’s image in the world and if we withdraw or if we were defeated. Defeat would signal to the world that America's word is no good and American can’t be trusted to live up to it’s commitments.
Pethokoukis thinks that politicians who talk about the cost of the war are disingenuous when they do nothing about the $2trillion dollar crisis in additional long-term liabilities that is soon to be facing the United States. Also he cites a strong U.S. economy during the war, though that has recently changed.
The consequences of losing are too great of a price for America to pay and this Congress should cease attempting to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and let Gen. Petraeus and the U.S. military win this war without anymore interference.