Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Disingenuous Comparisons

I find this post by David Roberts, whom I normally enjoy, to be disingenuous, as is the graphic upon which he is commenting.

Money spent on the war, while I agree is a frightening large amount that could be better used in other ways, is not directly comparable to the money spent on R&D in any field or even the whole of all R&D. There is only so much money that can be absorbed into research organizations and be used in a meaningful way. The goals of the spending are at odds with one another, the war spending is paying salaries, for tangible goods, services and a host of other things, the goals of research is to refine ideas to the point that a product can be brought to market that is economically feasible, and part of the feasibility is the cost of the research itself.

I haven't read the source document to determine the authors position, but Solar Power Rocks, who Mr. Roberts links to, points out at least one way in which the money could have been spent otherwise: using existing technology to build non-fossil fuel electric generation facilities. Better yet would be to not go into even deeper debt as a country, but I'm not an economist and have no idea what the impact of more debt is really on the US and global economies.

They're of course dodging the issue, or assuming that the logical next step for Iraq is to pull out and spend almost nothing. A fine reward to that country for our leaders deciding to impose someone's interpretation of how the world should look and breaking it. Not that I have any idea that what we're doing now is better, just doesn't seem right to leave them to their own devices when its our countries fault that they're where they are now.

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