BAGHDAD — The United States inaugurated its largest embassy ever in the heart of the Green Zone on Monday, officially opening the fortress-like compound that was built as a testament to America 's commitment to Iraq .
Addressing an inauguration ceremony under tight security, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the $700 million embassy was testimony to America 's long-term friendship with Iraq , where about 146,000 U.S. troops are deployed.
For nearly six years, the grandiose and gaudy palace, with its gold-plated bathroom fixtures and enormous chandeliers, served as both headquarters for occupying forces and the hub for the Green Zone _ the walled-off swath of central Baghdad that was formally turned over to the Iraqi government on New Year's Day.
OK, so somehow we can afford to spend $700 MILLION on a “grandiose and gaudy palace” as our embassy, complete with gold-plated bathroom fixtures, and yet in late 2007 George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have helped provide health care for 4 million American children. He said the Democrats were “irresponsible” and that the program was too costly. And yet it would have been funded by an increased cigarette tax.
From the AP in October 2007:
The State Children's Health Insurance Program is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage.
The Democrats who control Congress, with significant support from Republicans, passed the legislation to allow an additional 4 million children into the program. It would be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack.
Of the over 43 million people nationwide who lack health insurance, over 6 million are under 18 years old. That's over 9 percent of all children.
In other money matters, according to recent analysis by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard’s Linda Bilmes put out by the American Friends Service Committee, the war in Iraq costs $500,000 per minute. This study found that this $720 million a day could buy homes for 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children.
Naa… that would be socialism.