FROM Linda J. Bilmes
Who Should Pay for Iraq's Reconstruction? The high price of oil has Iraq rolling in money, but much of that new wealth stays in foreign bank accounts, while the US rebuilds the country. Americans are paying six times more than Iraqis for roads, schools and power plants, as well as the refineries and pipelines for oil production. That's according to the Government Accountability Office, an arm of the Congress. With a sagging economy, how long can the US afford that kind of money? Why isn’t it more effective? Will Iraq’s oil wealth mean future profits for private investors? We talk with an American entrepreneur who's building power plants and amusement parks.
The Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan...for the Next Hundred Years When the Iraq invasion was launched, Pentagon officials said it would be financed in large part by Iraqi oil money. The estimated for the United States was $50 billion. Five years later, the reality is higher by orders of magnitude. A Nobel Prize winning economist pegs the cost at $3 trillion. That includes combat, debt on borrowed money and restoring the military, not to mention the staggering cost of caring for wounded veterans for the rest of their lives. We hear how the expenses got so high and what they'll mean for the economy, future generations and national security.
The Shabby Treatment of Wounded Soldiers President Bush is appointing a commission to investigate the quality of care at Veterans' Administration hospitals. It will be chaired by former Republican Senator Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration. The shabby treatment of combat veterans at Walter Reed Hospital has been called the "tip of the iceberg" by several Congressmen. Yesterday, both military and civilian officials told a Congressional committee they were surprised at recent reports of shoddy treatment of outpatients at the Army's flagship hospital. Did military and civilian officials ignore early reports? What about other Veterans' Administration facilities? We speak with journalists, doctors and public-policy experts.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?