A while back I wrote a post about those strangely ill-defined units of measurement used on the science and history channels. As I recall, you weren't impressed - apparently only I am concerned about the growing problem of imprecision in Cable TV premium channel measurement. Fine.
Well, here's a bit of math that you might find more useful. Basically it's is the amount of beer the standard sized Englishman could have bought for the amount of money England has spent on GWB's adventure into, ah, er, world peace.
"Next time the government wants to take our country to war, let's just have few beers instead."
I thought this put things nicely into perspective, for the English. So what about the US?
We've got to do some conversion of the units first, as such: Pints? American beer doesn't come in no stinkin' sissy English pints, so we're going to use 10oz cans or my personal favorite 12oz bottles. And English Pounds? Well, we're going to change that into real money (and don't they use Euro's or something nowadays?).
So, the amount spent to date on the war by America is: um well, hell, somewhere between $1 and $1 trillion. But, see that includes the campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan, secret prisons, rendition, torture (oops I meant 'Extraordinary Means' heh heh, sorry), warrantless wiretap pay-offs to AT&T, email screening, searching old lady's orthopedic shoes in our airports, endless piles of body bags in support of Blackwater Security pacification operations, and Vice Presidential pay-offs funneled through Halliburton. Needless to say, there's some ambiguity in the figures, and you know how I hate that. So we'll just go with $460 billion, which is roughly what we've spent on the basic military operation in Iraq so far.
So, plug 460,000,000,000 into PentaCalc
Divide by the average cost of a 12oz bottle of Killian's Irish Red (I mean if we're gonna do this, let's use good beer). Hmmm, let's see, $14 (plus state and federal tax) for a 12 pack of Killian's, works out to $1.25 a bottle more or less.
Equals 368 billion bottles of beer. 368 billion.
Now there's roughly 303 million US citizens. That's 12,014.5 bottles of Killian's for every single US citizen (or probably something like 30,000 cans of pisswater Bud Lite per person for the WWF is a real sport! type folks).
But wait! There's more. The total world population is roughly 6,624,000,000, the math works out to approximately 55 bottles of Killian's for every man, woman, and child on the planet! Figure only about 2/3 thirds of the world population is above legal drinking age (since America is handing out the beer in this scenario, we'll use the US Federal drinking age of 21), so it's really more like 75 bottles of beer per person. And that's just the money we've spent in Iraq. Take the money we've really spent on Bush's Folly and we could get every dammed person on the planet snot slinging, lampshade wearing, karaoke yodeling, shitfaced for two weeks. Ever see two drunks fighting? Right, exactly, a couple of clumsy roundhouses, next thing you know they're out on the porch hugging and saying "I love you, Man," and the next day they're too embarrassed to discuss it and everybody has a funny story to tell at subsequent social events. Plus, you know how it is, after about the first three beers you're hopping up and down in line for the bathroom, or outside pissing in the azealas every fifteen minutes. No soldier in the world is going to be able to fight if he's gotta bleed the thunder lizard four times an hour. And finally, after two weeks of worldwide Mardi Gras (show us your tits! show us your tits!), everybody on the planet will be bleeding eye, raw egg swilling, hung the hell over for at least three days. Ain't nobody shooting at nobody in that condition: "Duuuude, shhhh with the AK-47 bullshit, will you? My head feels like Senator Craig's ass after a wild ride on the wide-stance bronco. Hand me an Alka-Seltzer, quietly."
I'm calling it the Beer For Peace Program.
I'm mailing the power point slides to the Nobel Committee today, just in case that will streamline the process for awarding me the prize. Stop it, please. No really, no thanks needed. Just doing my bit for world peace.
Seriously, sarcasm aside. How many bags of rice, flour, beans, and bread would that money have bought? How much medicine? How many condoms? How many irrigation ditches would it have dug, or water filtration plants would it have built? In other words: How far towards solving the real root causes of war and terrorism could we have gotten with that money?
As I've said elsewhere, funny how we always seem to have the money for war, but never seem to have any money for making war unnecessary. Funny, in a sad, depressing sort of way.