mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Cost-benefit analysis...

I was an undergrad econ minor, so I tend to be a big fan of cost/benefit analysis. One of the classes I took was Environmental Economics, and choices in Enviro Econ are all about cost/benefit analysis. People in surveys tend to say things like "we should reduce pollution, regardless of cost" - never mind that human existance causes pollution, so the only way to reduce all pollution is for us all to die off.

I get the same kind of vibe off the war - except that unlike the environment, people on the left are looking only at the costs without any of the benefits. That leads to signs like this one. Never mind that "peace" has it's costs - uncertainty about what weapons Saddam had or would have, thousands of Iraqis tourtured and killed by Saddam, even more Iraqi children killed by Saddam's corrupt food-for-oil program, which was literally stealing food from starving children, the risk of Saddam pulling another attack like on a neighboring country like he did to Kuwait. But none of these things get looked at by many in the anti-war community - only the cost in lives lost in the war.

I think people on the right realize that the war has costs, but feel that the benefits outweighed the costs. People on the left refuse to see that there were any benefits to the war.

What motivated this post? In terms of Iraq, this post from VariFrank was very emotional.

But one of the most powerful things I read was in George Will's lukewarm Bush endorsement where he discusses freedom in Afganistan:

Tuesday's winner will not start from scratch but from where we are now, standing with the women of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Back in Washington recently, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said those women were warned that Taliban remnants would attack polling places during the Oct. 9 elections. So the women performed the ritual bathing and said the prayers of those facing death. Then, rising at 3 a.m., they trekked an hour to wait in line for the polls to open at 7 a.m. In the province of Kunar an explosion 100 meters from a long line of waiting voters did not cause anyone to leave the line.

Think about that. These people went to the polls feeling that there was a good chance they would die for their desire to participate in the democratic process. And they still voted. And they could vote because of what the US did. Would you go to your local polling place if you felt there was a good chance you wouldn't make it back?


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