freeSpeech: Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel, TV commentator and editor of The Nation, discusses the enormous financial and human cost of the war in Iraq.
What has been the cost of our undeclared and unprovoked war in Iraq?

Let us begin with life itself – more than 2,700 of our men and women killed, over 20,000 wounded. This is a cost that has caused grief for families that nothing can heal.

Nor should we forget, some 100,000 dead and wounded Iraqis. And the financial cost – over $400 billion has now been spent for this war. That fiscal recklessness has already burdened generations of Americans to come.

The administration nonetheless justifies the war and its costs in the name of national security. But the reality is that this war has so weakened and demoralized the U.S. military that even retired military leaders have risen in unprecedented revolt.

Moreover, 16 of our own intelligence services now tell us that the war has only increased the terrorist threat.

And then there is the incalculable cost to America's reputation. We have lost the respect of allies who once looked to us as a beacon of hope — not fear.

Nor should we ignore the grave costs to our democracy at home. We have permitted an executive branch to seize unprecedented power, subverting our constitutional system of checks and balances, and even sanction torture. And from its inception, truth and accountability has been this war's victims.

Despite all these costs, we are told that we must stay the course. By any rational and humane reckoning, it is time to end this misadventure.

Katrina vanden Heuvel has been The Nation's editor since 1995 and publisher since 2005.

She is the co-editor of "Taking Back America--And Taking Down The Radical Right" (NationBooks, 2004) and, most recently, editor of "The Dictionary of Republicanisms," (NationBooks, 2005.

She is also co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of "Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev's Reformers" (Norton, 1989) and editor of "The Nation: 1865-1990," and the collection "A Just Response: The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001." Vanden Heuvel was also co-editor of Vyi i Myi, a Russian-language feminist newsletter.