Americans must view post-war expense as an intelligent, necessary investment

Much ado has been made over President Bush’s request for $87 billion to cover the cost of post war Iraq. The $87 billion the president has requested is a small price to pay for what it will achieve.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that a large part of that cost will go to equipment upkeep and soldiers in the field. The money can go to replacing tire treads, repairing propeller blades and feeding American solders. The dilemma over the cost of waging a war is not how much it will cost to fight the war, but rather how much it would cost for the United States not to fight it.

If the United States does not see things through, we will have to return to Iraq and fight the same war again.

Even excluding the cost of human life, Sept. 11 was incredibly expensive. A total of $7.8 billion in prospective income was lost and $21.7 billion was spent to clean up and rebuild Ground Zero subways and utilities.

The attack reduced wages in New York City by as much as $6.4 billion. Sept. 11 caused a 1.3 million net loss of jobs and decreased the GDP by $150 billion. States are spending $1.3 billion for homeland security and the private sector is shelling out $33 billion for “protective services.”

The $87 billion is not just a number. It is an investment in America’s safety.

The Marshall Plan, implemented to rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II, cost the United States between 2.5 and 5 percent of its national income. In today’s money, the cost of rebuilding post war Europe would equal $120 to $200 billion.

Although we may disagree from time to time, the United States and the countries it helped rebuild have had nothing but prosperous relationships ever since.

The good we will achieve for our $87 billion investment is a bargain.

Daniel Watkins, 20, is a junior computer information systems student from Hephzibah, Ga. He can be reached at