Saturday, July 15, 2006

New Hampshire and the Iraq War

It's worth occasionally taking stock of what the Iraq war is doing to the country as a whole, and to New Hampshire.

According to the Washington Post's "Faces of the Fallen," 2,533 American service members have died in the Iraq war, and another 314 in Afghanistan. Seventeen men from New Hampshire have died; eleven from the second congressional district, ten of those eleven in the Iraq war, one in Afghanistan. I encourage you to go to the Faces of the Fallen site and look at their pictures and contemplate the human cost of this war.

Then there are the financial costs. The National Priorities Project provides a wealth of data on this. $315.8 billion for the entire US; $2,819 per household; $1,065 per person; $2379 per taxpayer; $10.18 million per hour; $244 million per day.

New Hampshire has paid $1.3 billion. The second district?

Alstead 1.8 million
Bethlehem 1.7 million
Chesterfield 4 million
Concord 37.6 million
Dublin 1.7 million
Easton 0.3 million
Fitzwilliam 2.2 million
Franconia 0.8 million
Gilsum town 0.7 million
Harrisville 1.1 million
Hinsdale 3.2 million
Jaffrey 5.4 million
Keene 18.2 million
Marlborough 2 million
Marlow 0.7 million
Nashua 98.1 million
Nelson 0.6 million
Peterborough 6.1 million
Richmond 1.2 million
Rindge 6 million
Roxbury 0.3 million
Stoddard 0.8 million
Sugar Hill 0.6 million
Sullivan 0.8 million
Surry 0.8 million
Swanzey 6.6 million
1.8 million
Walpole 3.5 million
Westmoreland 2.1 million
Winchester 3.4 million

That's not everywhere in the district, and it's $214.1 million.

These are potential financial trade-offs for New Hampshire as a whole. For what New Hampshire taxpayers are paying for Iraq, we could have

121,913 People Receiving Health Care or
25,045 Elementary School Teachers or
162,185 Head Start Places for Children or
484,199 Children Receiving Health Care or
11,890 Affordable Housing Units or
110 New Elementary Schools or
153,802 Scholarships for University Students or
22,593 Music and Arts Teachers or
32,457 Public Safety Officers or
3,459,617 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
66,773 Port Container Inspectors

And, never forget, the lives of seventeen men.

So what does Charlie Bass have to say about the Iraq war? Well, he's proud of having gotten $103.6 million in defense contracts for New Hampshire in 2004.

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe (DCCC):

  • Rep. Bass voted to continue awarding contracts to Halliburton even if the Pentagon's own audit processes found that more than $100 million of their contractor's costs in Iraq were unreasonable. No surprise that Halliburton gave Bass $2,000.
  • Rep. Bass opposed expanding access to the military's TRICARE health insurance program to thousands of Reservist and National Guard members, even though 20 percent of all Reservists do not have health insurance, and 40 percent of Reservists aged 19 to 35 lack health coverage.
  • Rep. Bass voted against granting a bonus to grant a $1,500 bonus to every American service member serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including National Guard and Reserve forces.
Bass has repeatedly voted more funds for the war, most recently on June 13. On July 20, 2005, he voted to stay in Iraq essentially indefinitely. As The Yankee Doodler brilliantly showed, Bass was ready enough to criticize a war lacking "a clear strategy for victory," "control by Congress," or "a viable plan for what happens at the end of three years" -- when that war was under a Democratic president. On Iraq, it's yes vote after yes vote and silence on his websites, as the human and financial costs continue to rise.


Blogger Keener said...

I like your breakdown of alternative uses.

Where does the renewable electricity figure come from though? It seems high -- at 1.3 billion for 3 million houses, that's a cheap conversion ($400 a house?).

I ask because I'm very interested in comparisons that weigh the cost of military action against achieving energy independence. I think ultimately people have to understand things in those terms.

6:23 PM  
Blogger MissLaura said...

That's an interesting question - those numbers are from the National Priorities Project, a group I trust, but I can't find a source for it on their website. I'll keep looking and if I don't find it, I'll email them.

9:16 PM  
Blogger yankeedoodler said...

This is an incredible breakdown, Miss Laura, and I have already linked to it for my next post on Bass-ian hypocrisy re: Iraq.

8:26 AM  

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