BILLIONS SQUANDERED IN IRAQ AREN'T JUST AN ABSTRACTION. A commenter to this post below takes issue with the argument that Dems should oppose Iran by pointing out that Bush's wars could cost more than Vietnam. M.J. writes: "arguing that we shouldn't take military action in Iran because it's too expensive" won't "resonate with the American people," adding, "the rest of us are worried about a madman with nuclear weapons." Obviously financial cost alone doesn't add up to enough of an argument. Human toll is the most important consideration, needless to say; also critical is the potential impact on the United States' already-tattered global relationships.

But look -- the billions of dollars that are swirling down the Iraq sinkhole matter. They're not some abstraction. Those wasted billions will have a human toll, with countless long-term effects on the state of this country, and its people. But the main irony is that those squandered billions may end up mattering precisely because there are madmen with nuke ambitions out there. Americans have a tough time swallowing the idea that their resources -- financial or military -- are limited. But it's true nonetheless. That's why true leadership consists not of rushing headlong into a conflict, but of deciding whether it's actually worth its costs. More resources squandered on an unnecessary war means less is available when it really matters. As Atrios observes, Dems should point out that Bush and his policies are hideously unpopular whenever they can. Similarly, when an illustration as vivid as this one comes along of just how wasteful those policies have been, Dems should hammer away at it for all it�s worth. I think it would resonate with the American people.

--Greg Sargent