The war we ought to fight

Matt Yglesias points out in an American Prospect article that the ultimate $1+ trillion cost of the “Iraq misadventure” could have gone a long way towards making America safer, but for… well, that thought’s too depressing. What’s most shocking, though:

In a May 10 Washington Post op-ed piece, University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein argued that “the economic burden of the Iraq War is on the verge of exceeding the total anticipated burden of the Kyoto Protocol.” Sunstein’s argument, predictably, came under attack from the right, but in fact he seriously understated his case. The estimated $325 billion cost of Kyoto refers not to direct budgetary costs — most academic studies have concluded that these would be extremely small. Instead, the figure refers to indirect costs to economic growth. This is a large price to pay, but as with the rest it’s significantly less than the economic impact of the war. On top of the $1.27 trillion in direct expenditures, however, Bilmes and Stiglitz also anticipate an additional trillion or so in indirect reduced economic growth. Without the invasion, in other words, we could have both gotten a jump on the emerging challenge of global warming and enjoyed higher levels of overall prosperity than we’re seeing today.

The same blithering administration idiots who claim that meeting our Kyoto Protocol targets will prove too expensive have no problem asking Congress for blank checks towards the war — when, in fact, the cost of the former comes to a small fraction of the latter. Our descendants will not smile upon us for this.