Money well spent

According to ABC News and others, our misadventure in Iraq and Afghanistan is now expected to total somewhere around $1.6 trillion. To put that into perspective, that comes to about $20,900 per family in the United States. All the while our troops have en?raged huge segments of the world by their mere presence in the region, committed atrocities like those at Abu Ghraib prison, devoured countless gallons of oil and caused the deaths of, by some estimates, 600,000 Iraqi civilians, while displacing millions of others. It seems that money could have been better spent. The cost of installing six solar panels on the roof of a home comes to about $20,000. In other words, America could have used that money to provide free, sustainable, low-maintenance electricity for every family in the country.But there are numerous secondary benefits of this. Spending the money in this way would have reduced our dependence upon foreign oil, dramatically cut emissions of greenhouse gases, and reduced the spending needs of all Americans through smaller monthly electricity bills. With an established array of solar-cell manufacturers within the nation, the money could have remained within the borders of the United States, encouraging industry at home. America could have become the dominant force in a market that is quickly gaining popularity all over the globe.It would have created numerous jobs for engineers, electricians, carpenters, entrepreneurs of all sorts and manufacturers in plants churning out vast numbers of solar cells, distribut?ing wealth throughout society, while encouraging a productive and lively citizenry.Outfitting every home with solar electricity would have capitalized upon the vast reservoir of goodwill directed toward America after 9/11, strengthening our worldwide image as a peaceful, and progressive democracy. This would have made other countries more receptive to American interests and influence, all the while reducing the stranglehold that oil producing nations have over our country.Fed back into the grid, that solar electricity could have been used to break water into hydrogen and oxygen, providing a clean, bountiful fuel for vehicles which run quietly upon electrical power, and which emit pure water as its only waste. And the money could have been put into the pockets of Americans through reduced expenditure on electricity and growing industry could have offset the need for George Bush’s dubious tax cuts, meaning a smaller national debt, stronger dollar and less susceptibility to the whims of nations like China, which hold huge reserves of American dollars that could be dumped at a moment’s notice.Instead, that money has gone into the pockets of corporations like Blackwater and Halliburton. It has been fired out of the barrels of guns, exploded in city streets and been consumed in the bellies of tanks, planes, ships and other terrible instruments of war. It has collapsed governments, and it has destroyed lives. It has been transmuted into one of the greatest destructive forces ever visited upon the globe.There are countless acts of good that our government could be spending the money they extract from our pockets on. Yet time after time it chooses war. Need we say anything more?