Larry Elder

"What is the cost of this war in dollars to our budget? What is the cost to our economy?" said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who opposed President Bush's military action against Iraq.

Interesting how antiwar activists and politicians show concern over "excessive expenditures" -- yet only when it comes to projects they oppose. Actor/comedian Robin Williams, for example, said, "America is broke, basically, but Bush wants to wage a war that costs pretty much a billion dollars a month." James Cromwell, antiwar activist/actor said, "Billions of dollars for a war in Iraq to no purpose, and what to protect American citizens? Duct tape." Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said, "The costs are going to be long-term a lot more than the package presented to us to date."

What about Clinton-led incursions in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina? Intervention in the Balkans during the '90s cost the United States about $15 billion. According to the non-partisan Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping, currently the United Nations authorizes a civilian police force of 2,057, with five military liaison officers still patrolling and maintaining the peace. The annual cost comes to almost $79 million. Did the left scream about the "cost" of these humanitarian, rather than national security-led, interventions?

In my current book, Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests That Divide America (available at, I describe a 10-hour post-George W. Bush election/anti-Republican rally called "Wake Up Democrats! Take Back the Country." Speakers included many of the usual suspects: actor Warren Beatty; former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi; then House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.; Reverend Jesse Jackson; Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles; former Green Party California senatorial candidate Medea Benjamin; adviser to California Governor Gray Davis (Democrat) S. David Freeman; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Rep. Henry Waxman D-West Los Angeles.

Congressman Waxman showed the typical indifference toward costs when he said, "We belong to a community where we want to take care of everyone. . . . We must guarantee everyone access to health care, universal coverage." Actor Warren Beatty said that campaign finance reform is "the transcendent issue of American democracy in our time."

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit