THE BLOG
12/31/2007 01:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Cost of Terror: $6,000 Per Second

Whenever the Bush administration balks at spending money on some needed issue, I always mention on my blog that the Iraq war is costing us 11 million dollars per hour.

I am embarrassed to admit that this figure is wrong. I apologize. It has recently come to light that the Iraq war (plus Afghanistan, a trivial amount by comparison) is actually costing us 20 million dollars per hour.

This new amount was revealed by The Washington Post just the other day, but I have seen precious little mention of it, either in the MSM or on the blogs. I posted about it on my own blog, and was met by the usual and expected troops of equivocators. Remember folks, until we attacked Iraq, there was no connection between that country and terrorism (except, of course, for the very conscious and deliberate conflation of the two by the Bush administration).

So what does 20 megabucks an hour really mean? For one thing, it means we are spending nearly $6,000 every second in Iraq (and Afghanistan, but note that it only gets about 1/5 of the total money, while Iraq gets the other 4/5). In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, if you read moderately quickly, we'll have spent over $50,000. That's comfortably more than the median income of an individual American last year.

I poked around the web a bit to see what this kind of money would fund, but it's almost impossible for the mind to grasp the enormity, the numbingly colossal nature of this expenditure.

The money we spend in Iraq in about 40 minutes would feed one million needy American families for a month. The amount we spend on Iraq in two weeks would give NASA enough money to design, build, launch, and use a Hubble-type telescope for a decade (which includes paying the army of engineers and scientists who would run it). One month worth of Iraq would buy -- outright -- nearly 23,000 homes in San Francisco, the priciest market in the country.

One hour in Iraq -- one short hour, the amount of time I spent putting this blog entry together -- could buy over one hundred thousand computers for children in third world nations. An hour and a half would fund Human Rights Watch for a year.

I could go on and on, and you can go right ahead and calculate the numbers for your own favorite cause. But before you go, I want to point out the elephant in the room on this issue.

Where did this number come from? Who calculated that the War on Terror is costing us 20 million dollars every hour, of every day, for the foreseeable future?

Why, it was Ted Stevens, Senator Intertubes his own self.

And why did he release this number? Because he wants more funding for the war.

C'mon, folks. This thing is expensive. Pitch in! We only need 20 million of you to throw a buck in every hour. After all, what else do you have to spend it on?