A report by the US Embassy in Baghdad states that the Iraqi government has met 15 of the 18 original benchmarks set by Congress in 2007. These benchmarks were setup to measure security, political and economic progress within Iraqi. The report, which has yet been released to the public and has only been “obtained” by the AP, paints a very positive picture of the progress in Iraqi.
Apparently the surge has had a major effect on the progress over the last year, and just yesterday the Pentagon announced the possibility of additional troop cuts in the coming months. Additional hard data is provided by the State Department in their weekly Iraqi Status Reports which I encourage everyone to review. There is a lot of really detailed information provided that you normally will not see reported on the nightly news.
Is the US in a position to say that we “won”? Saddam is gone, a new democratic government has been created, and violence continues to decline. While I am of the belief that we have “won” the war, I wonder at what cost. We have sunk Billions of dollars in creating a new Iraqi, siphoning off that money from the hardworking folks in the US. Would we have been in a better place if we took that money and invested it in technology that would have allowed us to have become energy independent over the last 5 years?
Estimates on the total cost of war vary from 1 to 3 Trillion dollars. Just imagine what that Trillions of dollars would have done if it had been invested in research and development for alternative energy. Tax credits for electric cars, grants for wind and solar, stream-lined regulations for new nuclear plants. The US would have over-night become the leader in energy production, and more importantly energy technology. That technology would have powered our economy, and allowed us to be a technology exporter, just as the space program and computer technology powered our economy at the end of the last century.
We may have won the war in Iraqi, but we have lost the battle to be the leader in energy technology.
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