Saturday, June 17, 2006

The cost of war

While the President has been careful to avoid saying that a war of choice in Iraq would come with sacrifices, the consequences are piling up.

And no, I'm not talking about how we've just crossed the macabre threshold of 2,500 US fatalities in Iraq.

Ranger Bob talks about how we're balancing the price tag of Don and Dick's Excellent Adventure by damaging the National Parks:
As the federal budget continues to thin and less money goes to our National Park Service while summer travel starts in earnest, the public will notice the "conditions" that they may very well call to the attention of their elected ones. Or, realizing that we are at war, justified or not, the Bush administration continues to adjust where and how our money is spent and all federal agencies have to adjust. Yet, knowing that the backlog of work and staffing needs in our parks, indeed, all our public lands, will cost us much more when the time comes to pay it off and correct the staffing issues, is it wise to follow this route?
He's looking at a GAO report showing that inflation adjusted spending on parks has dropped, and a survey by former park employees showing that visitors' services are falling by the wayside. As the LA Times points out:
"This is not just about some more litter and some outhouses being locked. This has now escalated to visitor safety," said Bill Wade, a former superintendent of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and now an official with the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, which conducted the survey of 37 of the largest parks.
Our national parks are a proud achievement, a legacy that our forefathers gave to us, and that we can be proud to pass on to our children. Letting them go to seed is a bad plan and bad policy, and I hope we see change soon.