Identity theft is a big story these days.  Someone goes an a spending spree in your name to the tune of thousands of dollars; your credit rating gets trashed; you’re stuck with hefty bills you don’t feel responsible for, yet there they are, accruing interest like a vampire at a blood bank. 

From The Economist:

SUPPOSE that, five years ago, George Bush had asked every American
household to stump up $25,000 to pay for an imminent war on Iraq. How
would they have responded?

That money, suitably husbanded, would have paid for arming,
provisioning and remunerating the troops; treating the wounded; and
restoring the army’s strength in the aftermath. It would have paid just
compensation for the death and injury of American servicemen and
contractors, and it would have covered America’s outlays on
reconstruction. It would also have allowed America to subsidise the
price of oil by $10 a barrel—offsetting the disruption to Iraq’s supply.

Now, this chestnut from Editor & Publisher:

[In 2003, Deputy Pentagon chief Paul] Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking
down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the
upper range of $95 billion was too high, and that the estimates were
almost meaningless because of the variables.

Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that
postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact
that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15
billion to $20 billion. ”To assume we’re going to pay for it all is
just wrong,” he said.

At the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld said the factors
influencing cost estimates made even ranges imperfect. Asked whether he
would release such ranges to permit a useful public debate on the
subject, Mr. Rumsfeld said, ”I’ve already decided that. It’s not

Yet before you can say “Redistribution of Wealth,” Americans are saddled with an estimated $3 trillion (that’s $3,000,000,000,000)
in debt with no clue how the money was taken, where it went, or what
good came out of it, other than nearly 4000 American and countless Iraqi dead, and the shareholders and CEOs of huge multi-national
corporations like Halliburton and ChevronTexaco enjoying weekend dates
with special ladies that make Spitzer’s look like Guiliani in drag (A JOKE!). 

20 March marking the fifth anniversary of the United States-led
invasion of Iraq, it’s time to take stock of what has happened.

our new book, Harvard’s Linda Bilmes and I conservatively estimate the
economic cost of the war to the US to be $3 trillion, and the costs to
the rest of the world to be another $3 trillion – far higher than the
Bush administration’s estimates.

Moreover, the Bush administration cut taxes for the rich as it went to war,
despite running a budget deficit. As a result, it has had to use deficit
spending – much of it financed from abroad – to pay for the war.

This is the first war in American history that has not demanded some
sacrifice from citizens through higher taxes; instead, the entire cost is being
passed onto future generations.

Unless things change, the U.S. national debt – which was $5.7 trillion when
Bush became president – will be $2 trillion higher because of the war (in
addition to the $800 billion increase under Bush before the war).

Was this incompetence or dishonesty?

Almost surely both.

These are excerpts from an op-ed by Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize-winning economist, professor of economics at Columbia, and co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict.  The article is almost impossible to find on the net, but if you want to read it (and I can’t recommend it strongly enough), click HERE now because it may not be online for long.