Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Concord, California

Posted at 1:30 pm, March 15th, 2003

The drive from LA offers five hours of time where the mind can just wander. Last night, after seeing several people demonstrating in support of Bush, it again wandered to the current political situation. Two thoughts in particular struck me:

First, the whole situation with Iraq began as an effort to fight terrorism, but has since morphed into something else. The nation’s present stance of fighting Iraq in defiance of world opinion would, it seems to me, do much more to promote animosity towards the United States than any possible benefit gained from removing Saddam Hussein from power. Am I missing something? Someone must be reading this journal who feels otherwise — post something on the message board, because I really would like to hear a well thought out opinion to the contrary.

Second, in addition to political and moral arguments against going to war, the issue of cost is now one to be considered. There are estimates that the total cost of war with Iraq and its aftermath would be between $60 billion and $100 billion, but people don’t seem to understand what an incredible amount of money that is. Consider that instead of being used to fight Iraq, this amount of money could be used to:

  • Convert the US oil economy to hydrogen ($100 billion). Not only could the country begin freeing itself from dependence on foreign oil, but the environmental benefits would be huge, as could potential economic benefits derived from the technology change.
  • Build a reusable space vehicle ($50 billion) capable of putting cargo into orbit for a small fraction of the cost of the space shuttle. A large amount of startup funding with an even larger payoff for success should be enough to motivate the Boeings and other companies that are out there.
  • Rebuild the Bay Bridge ($3 billion), build a 200 mph mag-lev train that runs from San Diego to San Francisco ($31 billion), and an expansion of BART to entirely circle the Bay ($5 billion).
  • Give every man, woman, and child in the country $400 ($100 billion).

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