The Future of Iraq

David Frum: We're in it for the long haul. And whoever is president is going to reach that decision. And there is no 100 days on Iraq.

The new president will arrive and I expect that the new president will face some dramatic test. That will be more likely to be true if it's Hillary Clinton than if it's John McCain, and more likely again to be true if it's Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton, but there'll be some dramatic test to take the measure of this person. And that test is as likely to arrive in Iraq as anywhere else, and I think that test is going to persuade the new president that they don’t have the option of winding this thing up quickly, that this is a deep commitment of the United States with a lot at stake.

It looks from the point of view, of the middle of 2008, as if the trends in Iraq are more positive than they have been for some time. And if that trend continues, the next president may be in a position to inherit the beginnings of a success. It will be up to that president to continue that success and make it a success. If that happens, American troops will leave, as they should have, and I think, as it would have been possible for them to leave under different circumstances a long time ago.

If you'd said to just about any proponent of the war in 2003, if you said how many American troops would be there in 2008, probably the guesses would have covered the range anywhere from 15,000 to 40,000. I don't think anybody would have imagined then that it would be the numbers that are there today.

Question: Is it fiscally responsible to carry on this war?

David Frum: The highest estimate I've heard for the cost of the Iraq war comes from an economist named Joseph Stiglitz. He says if you add up all the costs, and then add to that all the future medical costs of the people who are wounded, and then add the interest on top of that, that you can reach a figure almost as high as a trillion dollars. That's an astonishing amount of money. It's one-fourteenth, to the best estimate, of the cost of the president's prescription drug program.

These numbers are very, very big. But when you're trying to compare magnitudes, understand that that decision to proceed with prescription drugs in 2004 was 14 times, probably, as costly as Iraq. Whether you like the Iraq decision or not, Iraq is not the heaviest burden on the finances of the United States; the failure to finance properly the pending retirement of the baby boom just dwarfs it.

Recorded on: May 5 2008

 

 

 

David Frum: It’s a long commitment, but the monetary cost is not as high as you think.

Videos
  • Beethovan and Picasso are the perfect examples for mastering the creative process.
  • Behind each of their works are countless studies and sketches.
  • The lesson? Never erase anything, keep iterating, and find new paths to familiar destinations.


New study finds the egg may actually 'choose' the Sperm

Here's the first evidence to challenge the "fastest sperm" narrative.

popular
Keep reading Show less
Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Lumina Foundation and Big Think have partnered to bring this entrepreneurial competition to life, and we hope you'll participate! We have narrowed down the competition to four finalists and will be announcing an audience's choice award and a judges' choice award in May.

The creator of the winning video — chosen by Big Think's audience, the Lumina Foundation, and an independent panel of experts (bios below) — will be flown to New York for a taping in the Big Think studio as a way to further promote their vision for a new, disruptive idea in post-secondary education.

Thank you to all of the contestants who spent time submitting applications, and best of luck to our final four competitors.

Finalist: Greater Commons - Todd McLeod

Greater Commons, founded by Todd McLeod and Andrew Cull, is an organization that helps people live happier, more successful and fulfilling lives through agile learning. The current education system is inefficient and exclusionary, in which many students who end up earning a degree, if at all, enter a career not related to their field of study. Greater Commons solves this problem and gap in post-high school secondary education in a variety of ways. Passionately and diligently, Great Commons helps others obtain skills, knowledge, wisdom, motivation, and inspiration so that they may live better lives.

Finalist: PeerFoward - Keith Frome

PeerForward is an organization dedicated to increasing the education and career success rates of students in low-income schools and communities by mobilizing the power of positive peer influence. PeerForward works with partner schools to select influential students as a part of a team, systemizing the "peer effect." Research in the fields of sociology of schools, social-emotional learning, adult-youth partnerships, and civic education demonstrates that students can have a positive effect on the academic outcomes of their peers. PeerForward is unique through its systemic solutions to post-secondary education.

Finalist: Cogniss - Leon Young

Cogniss combines technology and best practice knowledge to enable anyone to innovate and share solutions that advance lifelong learning. Cogniss is the only platform to integrate neuroscience, through which it solves the problem of access by providing a low-code platform that enables both developers and non-developers to build sophisticated education apps fast, and at a much lower cost. It addresses the uneven quality of edtech solutions by embedding research-based learning design into its software. App creators can choose from a rich set of artificial intelligence, game, social and data analytics, and gamification to build their perfect customized solution.

Finalist: Practera - Nikki James

Practera's mission is to create a world where everyone can learn through experience. Today's workplaces are increasingly dynamic and diverse, however, costly and time-consuming experiential learning is not always able to offer the right opportunities at scale. Many students graduate without developing the essential skills for their chosen career. Practera's team of educators and technologists see this problem as an opportunity to transform the educational experience landscape, through a CPL pedagogical framework and opportunities to apply students' strengths through active feedback.

Thank you to our judges!

Our expert judges are Lorna Davis, Dan Rosensweig, and Stuart Yasgur.

Lorna Davis is the Senior Advisor to Danone CEO and is a Global Ambassador for the B Corp movement. Lorna has now joined B-Lab, the non-for-profit that supports the B Corporation movement on an assignment to support the journey of large multi nationals on the path to using business as a force of good.

Dan Rosensweig joined Chegg in 2010 with a vision for transforming the popular textbook rental service into a leading provider of digital learning services for high school and college students. As Chairman and CEO of Chegg, Dan commits the company to fulfilling its mission of putting students first and helping them save time, save money and get smarter.

Stuart Yasgur leads Ashoka's Social Financial Services globally. At Ashoka, Stuart works with others to initiate efforts that have mobilized more than $500 million in funding for social entrepreneurs, engaged the G20 through the Toronto, Seoul and Los Cabos summits and helped form partnerships with leading financial institutions and corporations.

Again, thank you to our incredible expert judges.