The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Iraq is Vietnam in one sense

The financial.

Catching a bit of Franken, I hear Cato's Charles Peña who has a paper out - $400 Billion Defense Budget Unnecessary to Fight War on Terrorism - which is right up the liberal's alley: the adminstration is still fighting the Cold War, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I haven't read the paper; but there are a couple of excellent graphs deserving of wider notice:
  1. on page 2, a chart for 2003 showing the US as spending roughly as much on defence as the rest of the world put together; and

  2. on page 6, a chart showing US defence spending (in 2005 dollars) from 1945 on.

The second chart is stunning: from visual inspection, expenditure in 2003 is roughly on a par with the peak of the Vietnam War (in 1968, I think); Reagan's Cold War peaked at around $500bn in 1984, the Korean War at around $520bn - and 1945 came in at around $630bn.

The annualised cost to America of fighting the Germans and Japs combined [1] comes to not much more than twice what Bush is spending right now!

The mental map that Americans have of the scope of their defence effort needs redrawing, I suspect.

(Mine did, certainly.)

Oh - and Hack Franken surpassed himself.

Peña had barely got into describing his findings before he was invited by the Hack to express indignation - wait for it! - about Zell Miller's speech at the Republican Convention last year.

Peña is a guy from the other side of the tracks, party-wise, offering a bunch of goodies to delight the heart of any DEWDROP.

Franken knows Peña's not there to be stooge for his tired Catskills routines. And yet he embarrasses him by asking again and again.

One of nature's ward-heelers. Shmuck.

  1. There's obviously five months of shooting war in Europe and eight months in the Pacific, after which ordnance ceased to be consumed. But lots of costs would have continued after the surrenders.

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