As I read your Dec. 19 headline and article, “Fire station bond could cost taxpayers $81M,” I wondered how readers would react to the following headline: “Lost funds and Afghan/Iraq wars could cost Santa Monica taxpayers $4.1 billion.” That’s $46,200 per person in Santa Monica, as opposed to $920 per person for the fire station, enough to build 51 fire stations.

The $4.1 billion figure comes from (1) a recent article, which claims that since 1996 the Pentagon admitted it can’t account for $8.5 trillion in missing funds, and (2) the most recent estimate of the eventual overall costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard scholar Linda Bilmes, now pegged at between $4 trillion and $6 trillion (I have used the higher figure).

Taxpayers always express themselves on the costs of local human services. But nearly all remain silent when it comes to the trillions (nationally) and billions (locally) that are lifted from our common treasury to pay for wars and the staggering incompetence emerging from the Pentagon.


John Marciano

Santa Monica

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