bush's 2004 budget projects record deficits, page-2

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    re: and howards/ours! budget too..

    A U S T R A L I A
    Valder: cost of war too high

    Jan 29 15:11


    A former federal Liberal Party president urged Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday to consider the social and economic cost of war before joining any action against Iraq.

    Mr John Valder said he thought the force being amassed against Iraq was out of proportion to the likely fallout from any military action aimed at toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

    It made no difference whether a war was backed by the United Nations or not, and he had received many calls of support since writing an anti-war letter to The Sydney Morning Herald published on Wednesday.
    In the letter, he said US President George Bush’s belligerence made him wonder whether Washington needed a regime change as much as Baghdad.

    "I don’t know all that much about Saddam Hussein, but I’m perfectly happy to believe that it would be a good thing if he was gone," Mr Valder told ABC radio.

    "But do you really need to assemble probably the greatest war force post-World War II times to attempt to do it, with aircraft carriers and missiles and about 200,000 troops, to achieve a regime change of one man and at a cost estimated . . . at a minimum of $US50 billion ($85 billion)?

    "It’s out of all proportion to the end."
    Mr Valder, who also used to head the Liberal Party in Mr Howard’s home state of NSW, said the prime minister knew he was a plain speaker and he would say as much to Mr Howard’s face.

    "I would say just that: ‘Look, John, it’s out of all proportion to the end, you don’t need to spend billions and trillions of dollars and risk killing probably hundreds of thousands of people, causing economic havoc probably around the world and probably causing political havoc around the world’," he said.

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