TODAY is United Nations Peace Day.

President Obama is to address the U.N. General Assembly, which passed a resolution 30 years ago naming the observance.

Mayor Nutter encourages citizens to observe Peace Day and its "message of nonviolence." There are events throughout the city.

Haven't heard anything from Gov. Corbett, but I'm pretty sure he likes peace, too.

Nothing wrong with having a Peace Day, and, internationally, it's a day of cease-fire that allows relief agencies to deliver medical supplies to war-torn regions.

So, I'm not making fun of Peace Day.

But, while some honor it with lit candles or silent prayer, marches or sing-alongs, I figure I'll use it to note that we all could use a week of peace, or a month, or a year, or several years.

We, as a people, need it.

Our politics and the policies they produce are anything but peaceful.

Our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president has not brought us peace.

The costs of our wars continue to be mostly ignored by presidential candidates, except Ron Paul, who's been marginalized somewhere between quirky and crank.

Meanwhile, the loss of American resources to wars rarely draws focus from average folks fighting to keep or get a job in a relentlessly down economy - despite obvious links between such loss and our economic woes.

Maybe that's because the true extent of the loss isn't widely known.

A startling "Costs of War" study, recently released by the Eisenhower Research Project, at Brown University, says our government low-balls war costs, and by a bunch.

Figures most often cited by Washington, Obama and the General Accounting Office are $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion.

The Brown study, a comprehensive examination and estimate of the full and ongoing price, put together by 20 economists, anthropologists, lawyers and humanitarians, says that it's at least $3.7 trillion and climbing to $4.4 trillion.

Government accounting, the study says, is just too narrow to measure everything.

Catherine Lutz, a Brown research professor and the "Costs of War" project co-director, tells me that the Pentagon and GAO report only "direct" or "special war" allocations.

There are other costs that are basically hidden.

Lutz says that the true costs of wars since 9/11 must also include budget increases for the Pentagon, the State Department and Homeland Security, enormous future-obligated costs to veterans and - since the wars are almost completely financed by borrowing - nearly $200 billion in interest so far, a number constantly climbing.

"It's not really acceptable that the public doesn't know what the government is obligated to," she says.

One might think that our government purposely hides such short- and long-term encumbrances for fear that a full airing would make our wars much less attractive to the paying public.

(The preceding paragraph is an attempt at understatement.)

The truth is, military spending and foreign policy take what they want, warranted or not, hide the true cost and answer to no one, all while providing anything but peace.

More than 50 years ago, three days before leaving the White House, President Eisenhower addressed the nation and warned of the then-growing powers of what he called "the military/industrial complex."

Here, in part, is what he said: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist . . .

"Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Maybe we should have listened. Peace.