On this day…

… in 1948, President Truman signed the Marshall Plan, which allocated more than $5 billion in aid for 16 European countries. [That’s upwards of $100 billion in today’s money.] It was an extraordinary act of enlightened self-interest which enabled a democratic, pluralist Europe to arise from the chaos and destruction of 1945. Nobody who was in Germany in 1945 could envisage that a prosperous liberal democracy could be built on such shattered foundations. And yet it was.

And the deliberations within the Truman government (especially the State Department) which led to the Plan provide an instructive comparison with the gibberings of the fanatical ‘war lite’ neo-cons who planned and executed the fiasco in Iraq. Marshall, Acheson, Kennan & Co were serious people.

And to think that — according to the Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz — Iraq has already cost upwards of three trillion dollars. Ye Gods!