ONCE MORE A SUMMARY of numbers whose perspective is called for: it takes 11.5 days for a million seconds to go by; it takes 32 years for a billion seconds to pass, and 32,000 years for a trillion seconds to pass. A trillion (one trillion) dollars, then, is a large, a very large sum of money. Mr. Cheney has personally seen to it that he and Halliburton and Mr. Bush sink numbers like that into the sands of Araby — just not deep enough to strike oil. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Perle… names like that had (have?) leave to play and puddle bloodily about with numbers like that — with plurals of numbers like that.
One has no idea who they might have been, or still might be, but suppose some different set of names had had leave to encumber such sums and used them not only for roads lined with trees (one-dollar trees in ten-dollar holes), and bridges, but for manufacturing jobs that currently say Made in China, and a bullet train or two? It could have gone that way, with billions left over for Doctors Without Borders and education K through Ph.D. paid for with chump change. Do the arithmetic.