Saturday, July 17, 2004

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.


At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh come on. you dont have to be a bleeding heart hippie liberal to see that spending even $20 billion on healthcare is a better idea than spending $2 on a wild goose chase in iraq.


At 3:11 AM, Blogger alex said...

oh come on, you have to admit that under certain assumptions, spending money on a war in iraq is justified.

for example, if, for 150 billion dollars, we get a democratic iraq that does not abuse human rights and allows fundamental freedoms to everyone, surely it would have been worth it.

of course this looks somewhat unrealistic every day...but not hopeless?

At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

money cant buy you happiness or iraq


At 7:03 PM, Blogger alex said...

haha, cute, and all too true :)


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