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Soldiers, Families Paying Price of Iraq War

In a follow-up to his report on the financial costs of the war, NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman looks into who in America is paying the price.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, the costs of the war in Iraq, part two. Congressional Democrats said today they have reached a tentative deal with the White House on a war funding bill after months of battles. Leaders said they hope to send a bill to the president that he will sign.

    But as NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman reported last night, the growing price of the war goes well beyond what it's costing the government. In the second of his reports, Paul looks at some American families who are paying the price.

    JAVIER LAROSA, Father of Marine: This is our son, and this is his squad.

  • PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent:

    A recent Saturday at a Harley dealership in Tennessee, for months, Javier and Marian LaRosa have been raising money to privately buy body armor for their son, and for the other Marines in his squadron, before they deploy to Iraq in June.

  • JAVIER LAROSA:

    We feel that, if these guys are going to go and put their lives on the line, the least that we can do to bring them back alive.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    The LaRosas are a symbol of the roughly one million American families paying for the war in Iraq.

  • JAVIER LAROSA:

    And God bless you.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Or at least this man thinks they're a symbol of those paying for the war: Robert Hormats, who served under Presidents Bush I, Reagan, and Carter, and has for years been vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International, a wing of the world's largest investment bank.

    To Hormats, families buying body armor for their children vividly shows why the Iraq war differs from any other in American history, that those fighting it are bearing nearly all of the costs, while the rest of us aren't paying at all.

  • ROBERT HORMATS, Investment Banker:

    Americans haven't paid higher taxes. They haven't engaged in the purchase of war bonds. They haven't had to sacrifice through rationing. They haven't planted victory gardens. Every other war, there's been a sacrifice on the homefront to help those people, support those people fighting abroad. None this time.