"Despite the very dangerous troop build-up in the region, we still have the capacity to stop this war."

Talking Points on the U.S.-Iraq Crisis

by Phyllis Bennis



A pamphlet of the Institute for Policy Studies, January 2003


The current crisis between the U.S. and Iraq continues more than a decade of antagonism between Washington and Baghdad, involving three U.S. administrations. To truly understand why we stand now at the brink of war, however, one must look closely at the goals of the current Bush administration, which is drawn to conflict by Iraq's massive oil reserves and the goal of expanding U.S. military power around the world.

The Iraqi government's record is undeniably brutal, and the U.S. and its allies should never have facilitated its access to weapons of mass destruction, as they did during the decade of the close U.S.-Iraqi alliance in the 1980s. However, there is no evidence that Iraq currently has viable weapons of mass destruction, or that it presents an imminent threat to the United States.

Nor, despite Bush administration claims, is there any link between Iraq and the events of September 11. A U.S. war against Iraq would violate international law and worsen our global reputation as an arrogant, unaccountable superpower. The effects would be particularly dire in the Middle East, where many governments hang in the balance between increasingly outraged populations and the demands of Washington, on whom they rely for economic and military support. A war would cause great suffering within Iraq, already devastated by the 1991 war and years of crippling economic sanctions, and would put many others at risk, including tens of thousands of American troops.

A forward-looking United States would work through the United Nations to promote disarmament, human rights, and democracy at home and throughout the region, and pursue domestic energy policies that reduce our dependence on oil and thus our interventions in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere.

[Would you like the bound, printed version of this pamphlet? $2 for one copy, $1.50 each for 2-5, $1 each for 6-49, $.75 each for 50-249, and $.50 each for 250 or more. Contact Dorian Lipscombe at 202-234-9382 or dorian@ips-dc.org ]

Talking Points on the U.S.

-Iraq Crisis by Phyllis Bennis (author of Understanding the U.S.-Iraq Crisis: A Primer)

20 January 2003


U. S. Military Spending And the Cost of Invading Iraq

Bush administration's defense spending next year will be $394 billion. The United States already has the most powerful military on earth and now spends as much on defense as the next 15 big defense-spending nations combined. Russia, China and "Rogue" states spend $60, $42, and $15 billion for military, respectively. The U.S. military spending is about eight-times that of education or health care spending and twenty-times that of training, employment and social services spending.

In the same budget, with such huge military spending that is already $100 billion higher than Bill Clinton's final year, one will notice the following program cuts that relate to poverty and hunger in America: The most important sections of the mainstream media in the USA continue to carry out psychological warfare against the citizens of the USA in order to mobilize them to support the military invasion of Iraq at a time when millions want jobs, heat, affordable housing and medicine, healthcare, and decent education. According to military and economic experts, the invasion of Iraq will likely cost as much as $200 billion, which has to be paid by the American people. $200 billion is: Perhaps the biggest cost of invading Iraq will be the tens- if not hundreds-of-thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who will lose their lives to massive bombardments and military invasion and occupation of their cities and homes. In addition, rebuilding of Iraq is likely to cost another $50 billion and would require significant material and personnel resources. Just the security forces alone would entail 75,000 personnel in the first year amounting to about $16.5 billion. At least 5,000-10,000 troops would have to remain in place for five-ten years, costing $1- $2 billion a year. Beyond security, the U.S. would be expected to make a significant contribution for humanitarian and emergency aid, a transitional administration, civil service and other components of reconstruction. These non-security costs would amount to $15 - $25 billion over the next decade.

At a time of economic recession and when 35 states face severe economic difficulties and budget short falls, the $200 billion cost of invading Iraq must be carried by all of the States of the Union. In addition, the administrations new tax plan will cost states, on average, another $4.5 billion in revenues. This will push the states further into recession, resulting in loss of jobs, and deeper cuts in social, health and educational programs, since states are now mandated by the federal law to balance their budget.

Lafayette [Indiana] Area Peace Coalition 1/16/03