For the 100th post to My Mountain, I'm sorry to tell you that I'm a little upset today. I had hoped the 100th post would be more life affirming.
But someone has to ask the question: What the hell is going on up on Capital Hill?
Despite my earlier post, President Bush will soon ask Congress for an additional $120 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would bring the total cost so far to $440 Billion, according to Knight Ridder.
And despite my rock-solid treatise on the importance of funding education, the U.S. House voted today to make a college less accessible, when they passed a budget reconcilliation bill that cuts a record $12 billion from government backed student loans.
Let me see if I have this straight: War good. Education bad.
I guess if you can't get a student loan, you can always join the Armed Forces. Afterall, they'll pay for your college, right? In any event, making college less accessible for high school kids can only be good news for military recruiting, given the increasingly stiff resistance recruiters face for access to teens.
Let me jump back to the cost of the war.
Just for kicks, go back and read this CBS article from 2003, where they discussed what the war could possibly cost: Budget director Mitch Daniels guessed $50 to $60 billion. Former White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey guessed $100 billion and $200 billion. "Defense officials" were estimating of $60 billion to $95 billion.
Three years later, we're closing in on a one-half Trillion dollar price tag, with no end in site, and no clear way to win this war. Although I supported this war in the beginning under the illusion that it would make our country safer, I don't feel safer. I just feel lied to, spied on, and embarrassed at America's soiled reputation in the world.
And those are just the financial costs. The human cost of this war is already more than any of us can bear. More than 2,000 U.S. lives lost. Nearly 20,000 soliders wounded. 30,000 civilians killed. Fathers, sons, mothers, who will never come home.
Its no wonder to me that Americans are running away in droves from this President. If his party isn't very, very careful, they will find themselves on the outside looking in after this next election. The surest way to defeat for the Republican Guard, er... I mean Republican Party, is to keep voting unlimited Billions to send our kids to war, and to keep cutting billions from a program that helps our kids pay their way through college.