March 2005 Postcard

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We urge you to end this war now. Since March 2003 more than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. More than 1,390 U.S. soldiers have died, and another 10,372 have been wounded. Their numbers increase daily. We have spent nearly $152 billion on the war in Iraq. There are any number of ways that money could have been put to better use:

We could have hired 2,627,389 additional public school teachers for one year.
We could have paid for 20,080,681 children to attend a year of Head Start.
We could have insured 90,783,738 children for one year.
We could have built 1,365,096 additional housing units.
We could have fully funded world-wide AIDS programs for 15 years.
We could have fully funded global anti-hunger efforts for 6 years.
Too many lives have been lost already—let our troops come home.

altDuring a Jan. 19 memorial ceremony at Camp Marez, in Mosul, a U.S. soldier touches a helmet as he pays last respects to a fallen comrade, Sgt. Nathaniel Swindell, of the Bronx, New York, who was killed Jan. 15 when an Iraqi soldier accidentally discharged his rifle inside a Stryker vehicle (AFP photo/Mauricio Lima)

President George W. Bush on Jan. 25 asked for more than $80 billion in new funding this year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the total for both conflicts to nearly $300 billion so far.

In 2005 dollars, that total is almost half of what the U.S. spent for the entire Vietnam War. Military operations in Iraq alone already cost more than $1 billion a week.

The new money will supplement the Pentagon budget, already at more than $400 billion.

The average U.S. household paid $6,548 in federal income taxes in 2003. Of this, $1,928 went to military and defense, $1,295 to pay interest on the debt, and $1,287 for health care. Only $249 from the average household funded education, $233 for veterans’ benefits, $176 for nutrition, $147 for housing and $117 for natural resources.

I ask you to direct my 2004 tax dollars to fund non-military and defense programs here at home. My tax dollars spent abroad would be better spent helping civilian victims of the tsunami, hunger, AIDs or the Israel Defense Forces.