Letters to the editor for March 26, 2013

Written by Union Democrat staff March 26, 2013 11:12 am

The cost of war is not measured in dollars alone

To the Editor:

Last week marked ten years since we sent our service members to invade Iraq for a lie. There have been no prosecutions of Bush Administration officials for war crimes, Guantanamo is still open, and the Patriot Act is still in place. Moreover, the human costs of war are taking their toll on our veterans and Iraqis.

Service members suffering from war’s invisible wounds are having a hard time getting the care they earned. Veterans face average wait times of nine months to get disability claims processed because there currently is a backlog of about 900,000 cases.

A 2010 health study reveals that Fallujah, Iraq has at least 11 times the world average of major birth defects in newborn infants, according to Patricia Hynes, at Boston University.  Residents have high rates of cancer, birth defects, and sterility from U.S. bombs that used depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Other areas of Iraq face similar health problems.

It is not too late to hold our government accountable by demanding better care for our veterans and environmental clean-up in Iraq. And while we’re at it, let’s get out of Afghanistan.

The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds, according to a recent Brown University study on the costs of war.

That study also states that the Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.

Myrna Doering

Jamestown