Inside the Tent: Iraq veteran against the war

August 28, 2008

Iraq veteran Joshua Ferris speaks on the sidelines of a protest at the Democratic National Convention. This video was shot by Inside the Tent Contributor Teri Robnett.

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Robnett is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are her own.

Click here for a full list of contributors at the Democratic National Convention. We’ll be moving to St. Paul for the Republican National Convention next week.

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Posted by I HATE LIBERALS!!! | Report as abusive

I expect routers to headline with a video showing one of the huge majority of vets speaking out in favor of securing Iraq before we leave. That would only be fair. You do want to be fair, don’t you Reuters?

Posted by Anthony | Report as abusive

Spending habits for the War on terror
How money spent on war could have been used more wisely (updated 08-24-2008)

Things to consider for this article – The CIA does not report budget figures. The cost of war wounded is rarely reported, let alone properly factored into most studies. A trillion dollars is equal to one thousand billion dollar projects. A billion dollar project is equal to one thousand million dollar projects. So there are one million “million dollar projects” in one trillion U.S. tax dollars. Confused yet?

Let’s use metaphors to clarify: If You and Your community needs to build a park, or a stop light, or maybe a health clinic, then think how hard it would be to raise the funds for a million dollar project. Makes sense doesn’t it? Now, Let’s multiply that effort by a thousand and You get the idea of what a billion dollar project takes, something like a large hospital or small University. So, recently President Bush has asked congress for $50 billion dollars to fund renewable energy research. That is one fourteenth of the total amount spent on the war on terror every year.

Business magnate T. Boone Pickens claims the United States spends around 700 billion a year on oil, and that will bankrupt Us. And Let’s face it, He’s right. Keep in mind that 700 billion figure breaks down to 2,121 dollars a year, per person in the United States. You, Your spouse and little Johnny and Suzie spend on average 8,485 dollars a year on transportation and oil. Didn’t know it was THAT much, did You? Mr. Pickens figures We can half the expenditure on oil by reduce it some 300 billion dollars, and then divert that money to clean energies systems, so We could be ‘better off’. We sure would, plus it’s six times better than Mr. Bush’s plan.

Okay, now Let’s look at United States expenditures on the War over all, “Almost 3.5 trillion U.S. (military) dollars have been spent in the five years of the war in Iraq…” – PBS nightly news report 2008. That money would have been the equivalent of 3,500 “billion dollar projects” built in the USA in five years, had that money been diverted to peaceful means. Instead, that approximated total of military expenditure equates to a ‘war debt’ of $10,606.06 for every American citizen, I guess safety isn‘t cheap.

Let‘s look at it from another view, nearly $145,833.33 U.S. tax payer dollars were spent “protecting” each Iraqi citizen, every year. That’s $729,166.67 over five years for each and every one of the 24 million Iraqis. Of course these numbers will be disputed by My detractors, this is true to the extent that 4 million Iraqis fled the country, and numbers for actual murders are not officially produced with any reliability.

“What about Our costs”, shout those that lost loved ones here in America? Of the over 5,000 men and women of the United States Armed Forces to die in the “war on terror”, the cost of a lost soldier equals $700,000,000 million tax dollars spent, each. While I have dreaded authoring such grizzly print for years, it does illustrate a point; no human life can really be quantified by a price tag.

Or, perhaps another way to look at it, that 700 billion dollar a year price tag for War would have been the same amount, about 700 billion a year, the United States spent on crude oil during those same years. Why didn’t the government just avoid the War and pay Our gasoline bill instead? It would have cost less, if not in treasure then in blood and tears for both sides.

“What about Our costs”, shout those that lost loved ones there in the third world? Of the probable five million men, women and children that have died in the “global war on terror”, the cost of the loss of a person equals $700,000 U.S. tax dollars spent, each.

Now, compare the spending on war to the spending on peace: “one half of a trillion dollars of Western aid has been sent into Sub-Saharan Africa in the last forty years”. – PBS NOW with David Brancachio. That would be 500 billion dollars projects over forty years, or roughly 12.5 billion a year. That’s around $833.33 dollars per living African over the last forty years, or $20.83 per year. It’ less than six cents a day per person.

Even the charities want at least eighty cents a day per child, and that’s just for basic health care and modest education programs. Had We spent the 3.5 trillion dollars on peace in Africa, then We would have given each Man, woman and child $ 5,833.33. Who wants to say that wouldn’t have bought a whole lot peace? Compared it to 80 cents a day, it could have changed a lot of peoples lives, clean water, heath care, education and more. That’s how You ‘win the peace’.

Here is a thought, instead of America taking on expensive and impossible wars like Iraq, or Iran or Russia, Let’s instead spend the money on the poor. United States foreign policy should focus on winnable battle fields like Darfur and Myanmar, and not take on policies and wars We know We can‘t finish. Why turn Our backs on the starving and weak, then go around bullying everyone else by telling them how to ‘live’ while pointing a gun at them.

That is a philosophy that will never work, no matter how they do the math.
© 2008 Mike W. Boitano – All Rights Reserved.

2009 Military projections –
Source: rt.htm

Military Personnel $129 billion
Operation & Maint. $241 billion
Procurement $143 billion
Military Personnel $129 billion
Operation & Maint. $241 billion
Procurement $143 billion
International Security $9 billion
Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
Homeland Security (15%) $46 billion
Homeland Security (15%) $17 billion

total $576 billion and rising…

‘How much do we spend on the war’ ons.html

For More background: n/WAR/index.html

Posted by Mike W. Boitano | Report as abusive

Two words, man: Grow up! This is the crap that is dividing our country. You are lowering yourself than any liberal, or even the lowest of the low of conservatives by saying such a thing. Serious, man. Step one is to take your head out of you ass, the second is to open your eyes and see where our country is headed.

Posted by I am a Liberal! | Report as abusive

Yea, their opinion does matter, because they have BEEN to IRAQ! They have first hand experience on the ground, which your splinter ass fox loving girly men will never have. You have 3 vets in the family? WHO DOESNT. This is about the current war, not about WW2 which almost everyone’s grand father fought in. Things have changed in this country over the past 20 years. This war is immoral and have destroyed Americas moral leadership in the world.

Posted by matt | Report as abusive

One individual like this with a conscience is more important than one hundred followers. It is futile to believe in a good cause when the harm far outweighs it. The Iraq war has one simple cause: to make money for Halliburton, KBR, and other corporations with no-bid contracts.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

This idiot “I Hate Liberals” is obviously stuck in the stupor of sophmoric ignorance. To say that a Iraqi war veteren, who has been directly affected by the war in every way, has the same equality of opinion of us civilians who have been safe in the US, is bullcocky. They signed up to serve the USA, not the GOP. Get real.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

I’d disagree with “I HATE LIBERALS!!!” and say it’s the people who are fighting for our country that should have the most say about the war.

Think about it. The media tells us what is going on over in Iraq and Afghanistan, but do any of us really know what is going on over there? No, not to the extent that the soldiers who are actually in the middle of all of it do. They’re better informed than just about any of us when it comes to the war.

I don’t think any of us should presume to speak for the soldiers; to do so is arrogant. It seems that the soldiers are doing just fine speaking for themselves. You don’t see that many Iraq Veterans Pro-War rallies…

Posted by I HATE PEOPLE WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!! | Report as abusive

Vets who protest against the war should find another country to fight for!

Posted by roy | Report as abusive

I really do not see the point of this video. How can this guy even call himself American, yet alone call himself a member of the US Army. The American Army is made up of men who have courage, not cowards and dull minded people like this Joshua Ferris. This guy is a disgrace. You do not join the military to condemn war, you go to fight for your country. Obviously this guy doesn’t know that and needs to get his mind into shape. He’s not Army material. 95% of the US military believes in our cause in Iraq but we always seem to here about the 5% in our media, it’s ridiculous.

Posted by Rep.Phil | Report as abusive

1. Vets have every right to protest any war; they were there. 2. The War in Iraq is about big money, very big money at the expense of real people, sons and daughters who put on a uniform in the U.S., and all the innocent civilians whose lives are completely disrupted. 3. Anyone notice how Dick Cheney has disappeared from TV news and any visible association with GWBush? Wonder how much money Cheney/Halliburton and Bush are making off this war. Hmm. Interesting that Cheney is not over in Iraq talking to troops. Why is that? And what ever happened to Colin Powell? Silenced? By whom? Back to Cheney and Bush, how much money do they stand to make off the war in Iraq, while your sons and daughters are over there, scared shitless, thinking they are doing something good for the U.S.? Who brainwashed these kids into uniform anyway? Think Bush and Cheney are going to share their money with your kids in uniform?

Posted by good day | Report as abusive

SO I guess Vets and the 2nd ammendment don’t go together. This is the United States of America where you have the right to say what you want. I don’t understand people who pass judgement on things that they have no idea about. Travel the world before you claim that this was a just war. Hell open your eyes. You don’t join the army to fight in wars you join the army to serve your country. Every man/women in the Armed services will tell you 2 things about war, 1) War is the last option and 2) There is never a winner when it comes to War. If you don’t understand that well……………..

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive