Monday, January 09, 2006

a trillion dollars of what?

"These estimates, however, underestimate the War’s true costs to America by a wide margin. In this paper, we attempt to provide a range of estimates for what those costs have been, and are likely to be. Even taking a conservative approach, we have been surprised at how large they are. We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars".

I've come to understand "dollars" to be representations of things. This car is four thousand dollars, this candy bar is one, so on and so forth. What exactly are we getting for a trillion dollars in Iraq? What is anyone getting? Does anybody really know how much a trillion is?

In a partly related note, here's George Orwell on Nationalism:

"But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also -- since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself -- unshakeably certain of being in the right."

Smart man, that Orwell. Psychic, too.

In other belated and possibly related news, My Lai Hero Hugh Thompson Jr. Dies at 62. Proof positive that no matter what, some Americans will always have what it takes to be heroes. Here's a question for you, though: If My Lai were to happen today in Iraq, would Thompson be considered a hero or castigated by the White House? The Media? Would we have even heard about it?


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