This isn't really a plug to go read stuff I've already written. It's a case of not hiding my light under a bushel. It turns out that, not only would it have been less expensive to just buy Iraq, but that Saddam was willing to sell it -- cheap. Extremly cheap.
I so called it.
Saddam Hussein was prepared to take $1 billion and go into exile before the Iraq war, according to a transcript of talks between U.S. President George W. Bush and an ally, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday.
During a meeting at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003, Bush told former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that Saddam could also be assassinated, according to the transcript published in El Pais in Spanish.
In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe declined to comment on the report.
Iraq has a land area of 168,754 sq. miles, making Saddam's offer roughly equal to $5, 917.15 per sq. mile for Iraq's oil rich land. Of course, as we all can surmise, Bush -- shrewd businessman that he is -- turned him down. It's this sort of decision making that bankrupted Arbusto Energy and led Bush to trade homerun machine Sammy Sosa to the White Sox.
In contrast, let's look at where we are now.
President Bush and Congress are headed toward another showdown on war spending, this time sparring over nearly $190 billion the Pentagon says is needed to keep combat in Iraq afloat for another year.
If approved, Congress would have appropriated more than $760 billion for the two wars, having already approved of $450 billion for Iraq and $127 billion for Afghanistan.
Instead of buying off a dictator -- as he has with Pervez Musharraf and Muammar Qaddafi -- President Brilliant decided the best thing to do would be to invade. Like most of the decisions Bush has made thoughout his life, this proved to be a poor one. And an expensive one, in more ways than one.
Of course, we can always just borrow more money. That's been working out great. As Dick Cheney says, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." There's plenty of money to shovel down a hole in the desert. It's not like there hasn't been a return on the investment -- not for you, for Team Bush. Wartime presidents tend to be re-elected. Besides, if we'd just bought Iraq, flying onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in a jet, getting plenty of photos in a flight suit, and declaring "Mission accomplished" would've never happened. Bush's G.I. Joe moment was worth every penny -- to him, anyway.
In fact, Bush was so intent on getting his hero moment that nothing would keep him from war. According to El Pais, Bush was going to war with Iraq no matter what happened (translation by Watching America):
On the 16th of March 2003, even as Bush maintained his public demands for Saddam to 'disarm or it's war,' Bush, Blair and [then spanish President] Aznar decided to replace the U.N. Security Council and usurp its functions to declare war on their own accord.
Second UN resolution or no, we were going in. Cooler heads couldn't be allowed to prevail. The US, UK, and Spain would later form the backbone of the "Coalition of the Willing." Bush wanted war so badly that the White House used 27 different excuses to invade prior to the war. When one reason was shot down, they'd cook up another. It seems that no effort was made to think up reasons not to invade. In the bad idea factory that is the Bush White House, critical thinking and considering both sides of an argument have no place. Bushies are (at least, in their own minds) flawless intellects and their first impulse is always correct. History disagrees.
In human -- as well as monetary -- costs, the occupation of Iraq has been damned expensive. At least 74,000 iraqis have died (although most observers put that number over a million), the US military has lost 3,800 people, we've spent going on $760 billion, and the US reputation in the world has taken a massive hit.
But we saved $5, 917.15 per sq. mile. Doesn't look like the best decision in retrospect, does it? Just another example of how crime doesn't pay.