WISCONSINREPORT.COM (03/19/08) - The war in Iraq is costing Wisconsin residents alone, millions of dollars, no, billions of dollars, with a B, since the beginning of the hostile action five years ago. A group called Citizen Action of Wisconsin, estimates that in 2008, Wisconsin's share of the war will be One-Point-Three Billion additional dollars. The 2008 amount is based on Bush Administration and military proposals for additional outlays of funds to be funneled into the effort in Iraq this year. A report issued today shows what Wisconsin governments and citizens could have gained locally if that money wasn't going into the war.
Although there have been variations in the popularity of the war over the past five years, many current polls show that, as the Iraq war enters its 6th year, there is an overwhelming public consensus that the Bush Administration’s invasion has failed to achieve any of its major objectives.
On top of the international relations disaster and the deaths of nearly 4,000 American troops and nearly 100,000 Iraqis the invasion and occupation has brought, there is growing public attention to the consequences of the war for vital domestic priorities such as health care and education.
To mark the 5th anniversary of the war, Citizen Action is releasing today estimates of what Wisconsin, and individual Wisconsin cities could have done in 2008 alone with their share of Iraq war spending. The data was obtained from National Priorities Project.
Citizen Action is also holding events in Green Bay and Eau Claire today to bring attention to the local cost of the Iraq war.
The report indicates, in 2008 alone, Wisconsin residents will pay an astounding $1.3 billion for additional proposed Iraq war spending. For the same outlay, 861,342 people could have received health care coverage; 89 new elementary schools could have been built, 198,642 college scholarships could have been given, and 29,904 public safety officers could have been hired.
As the following shows, these lost opportunities to invest in Wisconsin are significant at the local level.
2008 Iraq War Spending by Wisconsin Municipality:
Green Bay Area
Eau Claire Area
Remember, these figures are for 2008 alone. Imagine what could have been done with Wisconsin's share of the funds, had the war not taken place. Then, there is the loss of all the valuable Wisconsin men and women who have lost their lives due to being involved in the Iraq experience during the past 5 years. But, it doesn't stop there. Add to those losses, the wounding and maiming of many more, who will have physical and emotional disabilities that they and their families must cope with for years to come.
According to CAW, the local share of war spending could have been used to make major investments in the economic vitality and quality of life in Wisconsin’s major cities. For example, for Milwaukee’s share, 4,506 public safety officers could have been hired. In Oshkosh, 2,002 college scholarships could have been given, and in Appleton 3 new elementary schools could have been built.
“Five years of war in Iraq are five years too many,” said Linda Honold, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
“With an economic recession making it harder than ever for Wisconsin families to make ends meet, the human and economic costs of the war in Iraq are unaffordable and unconscionable," Honold continued.
"Congress must reverse the administration’s upside-down priorities, end the war and invest in America’s future,” Honold suggests.