About a year and a half ago, Marge Piercy wrote a poem called Choices. It began:
Would you rather have health insurance
you can actually afford, or occupy Iraq?
Would you rather have enough inspectors
to keep your kids from getting poisoned
by bad hamburgers, or occupy Iraq?
Would you rather breathe clean air
and drink water free from pesticides
and upriver shit, or occupy Iraq?
We're the family in debt whose kids
need shoes and to go to the dentist
but we spend our cash on crack
This version is from Marge Piercy's webpage. The draft I saw a year and a half ago said "bomb Iraq" not "occupy Iraq." The poem caused a minor controversy when it was written because Piercy had planned to read it at a White House poetry event hosted by Laura Bush. The event had to be cancelled.
At the time, I argued to an English-major friend of mine that this is wrongheaded: health insurance for every person in America would cost a few hundred billion dollars per year, whereas invading Iraq would have a one time cost of about 20 billion -- this being the number being thrown around by Rumsfeld at the time.
What I said is still true -- but the cost of the war has ballooned to 150 billion -- so far. If this continues at the same rate, Marge Piercy may turn out to be right after all.