From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
California or Iraq?

September 8, 2003 12:21 AM

There were two interesting things about Bush's speech tonight: no mention of WMD, and $87 billion for one year of Iraq nation building. That will push the deficit close to $600 billion.

$87 billion is awfully close to the size of California's budget, and as the President frequently points out, Iraq is also the same size as California.

While Bechtel is busy rebuilding schools in Iraq, students in California are being turned away.

Instead of rebuilding California, we are rebuilding Iraq.

UPDATE: 24 hours later, the price tag has shot up an additional $55 billion to $142,000,000,000.

More from the archive in California, Imperialism.

California or Iraq? (09.08.2003)

Next Entry: The September Surprise (09.09.2003)
Previous Entry: Bush approved Iraq war strategy in August '02 (09.03.2003)

Read the 18 comments.

Paul in OC:

Bush's War on Competence:

Critics say the White House underestimated the financial burden to help build support among Americans for the war, and even dismissed one official -- chief economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey -- who spoke out frankly about the potential costs before Bush settled on a course of action.Then-White House Budget Director Mitch Daniels rejected Lindsey's estimates -- for spending $100 billion to $200 billion on the war -- as "very, very high," though it would later turn out to be nearly accurate.

Mon Sep 8 2003 2:06 PM

Paul in OC:

More on Bush's War on Competence:

However, to send in more American boys would be politically disastrous. There are already 140,000 there.But Mr Charles Pena, a military expert at Washing- ton's Cato Institute, said: 'We're at least 100,000 troops shy, and it could be a whole lot more than that.'Last year, General Eric Shinseki, former US Army chief of staff, told Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that at least 200,000 troops would be needed. Mr Rumsfeld scoffed. And Gen Shinseki was shown the door.Now, after the August atrocities, Mr Rumsfeld quietly talks of asking other countries to send troops.

Mon Sep 8 2003 2:11 PM

Paul in OC:

Another casualty in Bush's War on Competence:
Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni said last October that a war in Iraq could result in serious political instability and insert the U.S. military into an intractable internecine struggle.President Bush subsequently removed Zinni from an important White House job and charged forward with a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Mon Sep 8 2003 2:30 PM

Paul in OC:

Here's the correct link for the second comment, above.

Tue Sep 9 2003 8:02 AM


Ever wonder why it seems the US is stretched so thin when it comes to the military?

The U.S. military was sent on an unprecedented 48 overseas missions in the 1990s to places such as Iraq, the Balkans, Haiti and East Timor. In addition, troops have performed hurricane and earthquake-relief work in Guam and Central America.

By contrast, the military was sent on only 20 such missions in the 15 years between the U.S. exit from Vietnam and the end of the Cold War.

At the same time, the active duty force was shrunk by 800,000 troops, from 2.2 million to 1.4 million - a 40 percent reduction. The Army was cut from 18 to 10 divisions; the Navy went from 567 ships to just over 300; and the Air Force lost almost half of its 24 fighter wings.

At the same time the "Peace Dividend" was spent on Midnight Basketball and other deserving programs.

Tue Sep 9 2003 10:12 AM

Paul in OC:

Yeah, I saw that article on the front page of the L.A. Times, today. $87 billion... $55 billion... I can't believe how much Bush's War on Competence is costing us.

On the positive side, this money does partly contribute to a worthwhile cause - that of discrediting the neocons' theories of empire and democracy. How could ivory tower types like Wolfowitz actually be granted the power to make U.S. foreign policy? I mean WTF did these guys ever do to prove themselves and their ideas, before they were allowed to experiment on a national scale?

Another positive may be that we'll find military service members turning away from the Republican Party, which has essentially betrayed their trust. Does Bush really think those service members in Iraq will vote for him next fall? What do service members think about Bush ignoring the North Korean crisis? Can you say "Marines for Dean"? (I already Googled it. Nothing there - yet!)

So, those dollars do buy something other than casualties and national humiliation.

Tue Sep 9 2003 6:05 PM


What precisely are you proposing we do? Turn tail and abandon Iraq to the mullahs and the Syrians? Revert to the Democrats' tried-and-true method of abandoning the region to any local Pol Pot who might turn up?

The previous administration's method of dealing with Islamic fanatics was to do nothing -– except when he needed to distract from his impeachment and would suddenly start bombing foreign countries at random.

The US pull out of Samolia emboldened every two bit dictator and terrorist in the world into thinking all you have to do is spill a little American blood and the US Army runs home to mommy.

The London Sunday Telegraph reported that, soon after the war began, Uday was deeply depressed. According to the former director of Iraqi television quoted in the Telegraph, the last words he heard Uday speak were these: "This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton. I think this is the end."

Wed Sep 10 2003 5:44 AM

Paul in OC:

Yikes, the veterans are getting angry at Bush.Veterans are angry. And they're ready to take their frustrations out on the Washington politicians at the ballot box.They say the praise for troops by the president, other top administration officials and Republican congressional leaders is "ringing hollow" because they have broken promises to veterans and active-duty soldiers about benefits and services.Rick Weidman, director of government relations for the Vietnam Veterans of America, said that the president has a "credibility gap" and that "it's widening every day and it's getting deeper every day."......But it's worth looking at what happened to an earlier president, Bush's father.In the 1992 presidential election, veterans backed Democrat Bill Clinton, viewed by many at the time as a draft dodger, over Republican President George Bush, the hero of the Persian Gulf War, by a 2-1 ratio, according to exit polls.Veterans were angry over their treatment by the VA and had running conflicts with its secretary, Edward Derwinski. Many thought they would fare better under Clinton."I believe that, like his father, there is a strong possibility that (President Bush) could very easily lose the support of veterans," said Richard Schneider, director of veterans affairs for the Non Commissioned Officers Association.Schneider added: "It's not a foregone conclusion that this president is going to be re-elected. Quite the contrary. People are waiting. I think there is going to be an accountability from the veterans, not only for themselves, but for these veterans who are going to be coming out of Iraq."

Wed Sep 10 2003 9:06 AM

Paul in OC:

There's more in that article about broken promises. See, Bush doesn't get it. He thinks he can be re-elected, simply by appealing to nationalism and fundamentalism. But, government is really a functional part of society. It actually does stuff. It takes in money, and it has a fiduciary responsibility to spend it wisely. Instead of dumping it on the sands of Iraq, it's supposed to be spending it to effectively fight the war on terrorism.

With all of the money and resources which are being squandered, there isn't enough to take care of veterans, maintain national infrastructure, or pay down the national debt. So, we end up with veterans getting substandard medical care, massive power outages, and our kids left to foot the bill for the party that the neocons are throwing.

Veterans are a group which pays close attention to how they are treated. My impression is that Clinton took care of them, but I haven't done the research to know for sure. If Bush is screwing them over, they sure as hell won't vote for him next year.

Wed Sep 10 2003 9:18 AM


Paul in OC:

Have you actually spoken to anyone in the Army? The idea that military personnel liked serving under Clinton more then under Bush is laughable and and in certain company insulting. A comment like that in the wrong area of Ft Riley will result in an ass kicking. I know this because I see and talk to soldiers and reservest every day. True, some do think that Bush is a first class A-Hole, but how many young men or women walk around talking about how they love their boss?

The army doesn't like the duty in Iraq, but when have troops ever "LIKED" being deployed to hostile territory? I don't recall any troops ever saying they "LIKED" fighting the Germans, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Koreans (by the way those where ALL wars started with a democrat in the whitehouse). Until the democratic canidates offer up something besides a lot of bitching and complaining about how Bush is running the war and country I don't see the military voting enmass for any of them. I have yet to hear any of the democrats offer up a differant approach then what Bush has done thus far, and the guys in uniform are listening to the same message. They can and will change their votes if something better is offered, but right now they have no reason.

Thu Sep 11 2003 5:59 AM

Paul in OC:

Service members aren't stupid. They can tell that the Bush administration rhetoric about "support the troops" is just lip service. It's just a matter of the Democrats fielding a candidate who can be considered credible on national security issues.

Bush's credibility is basically all marketing fluff, so we just need a candidate who can cut through the BS and point out what an abysmal failure Bush has been in national security and foreign policy. Governor Dean is the only man with enough backbone to do this.

Does anyone feel safer today than they did under Clinton? If they do, I don't think they've been paying attention.

The WTC attack occurred on Bush's watch, after he had wasted the better part of a year, refusing to follow-up on the plans Clinton passed on for taking out Bin Laden. North Korea is going nuclear on Bush's watch, and now he's going back begging with offers of aid, when he promised that he would do no such thing. After defiantly going it alone in Iraq, Bush is going back with his tail between his legs and begging our allies to rescue us.

As I said, service members aren't stupid. They don't want to see America's credibility tarnished any more than we do. Not to mention that I strongly suspect that Rumsfeld is universally despised in the military. That's just one more reason to vote against Bush.

Thu Sep 11 2003 12:56 PM


What time warp are you living in?!

North Korea continued to develope nuclear weapons AFTER Slick paid them off with favorable trade (ei FREE) agreements that provided them with food and fuel to NOT do so. As for "refusing to follow-up on the plans Clinton passed on for taking out Bin Laden" what plans do you refer to? Slick actual PASSED on the chance to take Bin Laden in to custody back in 1998(?).

Former Governor Dean's experience in dealing with terrorist is limited to someone spiking the punch at the local apple festival. When pressured into stating his position he somewhat grudgingly admits that he would continue the US policy of occupying Iraq. Is there a secret policy he as released only to democrats voting in primaries?

Thu Sep 11 2003 1:27 PM


"Service members aren't stupid. They can tell that the Bush administration rhetoric about "support the troops" is just lip service".

I agree they are not dumb, but until a canidate puts forth more then the "I HATE BUSH" slogan the service personnel are not going to vote democrat either. They remember all to well the the disdain they where treated with under the last democratic presidency, and the democrats attempts to keep military votes from being counted in Florida in the last presidential election. Don't count on their memories being being short.

Thu Sep 11 2003 1:33 PM

Paul in OC:

The Bush administration attacked Iraq and cozied up to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, when it was the latter nations, rather than the former, who were heavily involved in the September 11th attacks.Washington, reports Posner, was shocked when Zubaydah claimed that “9/11 changed nothing” about the clandestine marriage of terrorism and Saudi and Pakistani interests, "because both Prince Ahmed and Mir knew that an attack was scheduled for American soil on that day." They couldn’t stop it or warn the U.S. in advance, Zubaydah said, because they didn’t know what or where the attack would be. And they couldn’t turn on bin Laden afterward because he could expose their prior knowledge.

Thu Sep 11 2003 6:26 PM

Paul in OC:

More on Pakistani and Saudi support of Al Qaeda:
The Pakistani contact, high - ranking air force officer Mushaf Ali Mir, entered the equation, Zubaydah said, at a 1996 meeting in Pakistan also attended by Zubaydah. Bin Laden struck a deal with Mir, then in the military but tied closely to Islamists in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to get protection, arms and supplies for al-Qaeda. Zubaydah told interrogators bin Laden said the arrangement was "blessed by the Saudis," according to Posner.

Thu Sep 11 2003 6:29 PM

Paul in OC:

Of course, there is "effective" President Bush, who wouldn't just launch a missile at a tent and hit a camel in the butt, but he would invade an entire country, and still fail to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. Doesn't that pretty much destroy Bush's claims of national security prowess?!!

Remember, before 9/11, Clinton was praised by two former Bush administration counterterrorism officials for his focus on terrorism, although one of them said that Clinton focused too much on Bin Laden, and made too much of a big deal out of him.

Here comes Bush after 9/11, when he has the national mandate to capture Bin Laden. He's not being tied down by impeachment hearings. He's given a blank check to wage war, and he still can't capture the most significant source of international terrorism in the world.

Apparently, Bush was too involved in his "War on Competence" to focus on capturing Bin Laden.

And why Bush gave the Bin Laden family special dispensation to fly around the country, while American citizens were grounded, is beyond me. Maybe, someone can explain that to me. It boggles my mind.

Thu Sep 11 2003 6:54 PM


"As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out."

"he tears up when he watches "The West Wing.""

Jesus Christ!! What an IDIOT!! I guess everyone rises to his own level of incompetence and this guy found his. Just glad he stepped down rather then continue to do a half assed job in such an important position. Bush's biggest mistake is allowing half assed losers that can't handle the pressure sit in positions of power.

Fri Sep 12 2003 1:06 PM


this is not a war anyone ask for.the war is islamist against anyone thats not islamist any where in the doesnt matter if your 100 or one year old your a target.WAKE UP
i happen to trust bush more than someone that calls self proclaimed communist friends in arms.
its scary that the world has not come to terms with this yet.TRUST KERRY? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.
fool me once shame on you -fool me twice shame on me.kerry turned once, he will do it again if we let him

Thu Sep 9 2004 7:58 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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