There are many reasons to oppose the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, and many reasons to stand in protest with fellow citizens at 7 p.m. at Moore Park, in South Paris, on March 17 – four years after the war began.

The war is illegal, cruel and immoral. But more money spent on war for oil in Iraq, takes money away from what we need to do here at home.

According to the National Priorities Project, Bush’s war has cost more than $406 billion. Maine’s share is $1.2 billion, and Lewiston’s share is almost $27 million. In Lewiston, that money could have paid for 216 housing units (9,845 in Maine, overall), health care coverage for 14,368 children for one year (654,793 in Maine), four-year college scholarships for 1,163 young people (53,009 in Maine), and the salaries for 415 teachers (18,950 in Maine).

I invite people to look at the math. El Paso, Texas, gets left out and Pocatello, N.M., and “Every mole hill in Mississippi,” Dr. Martin Luther King’s words.

I suggest the Walter Reed scandal tells us why this is so, as does Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans and 600,000 dead Iraq civilians.

Officials in Washington, charged with protecting big money, think about regular people the way one thinks about an insect – just plain not worth much.

William T. Whitney Jr., Paris

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