THE COST OF THE WAR….I just finished my morning exercises and heard a CNN reporter “crunch some numbers” to put President Bush’s $87 billion Iraq request “into perspective.”

So up went a graphic showing….wait for it….that Social Security and Medicare cost $8 billion a year! The war is costing 10 times as much!

Of course, at the top of the screen it said this was “discretionary spending,” which means the number is technically true. If you want to know what’s actually true, however, total spending on Social Security and Medicare is around $700 billion this year, give or take a few billion. In other words, the war actually costs about one-tenth as much. But what’s a couple of orders of magnitude among friends?

And so we’re left with the question we’re always left with: was this deliberately dishonest, or merely incompetent? As usual, it’s hard to tell.

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