$1 trillion wasted on wars
Special to The Japan Times
HONG KONG — The calculator busily counting out how much money the United States has spent on wars since 2001 has raced past $1 trillion — $1,024 billion plus at the start of August. There is little point in trying to give a more refined figure since the clock ticks remorselessly on, mesmerizingly faster than you can write the sum down, about $260,000 blown away in each passing minute.*
Meanwhile, the wars are being lost rather than won, U.S. and allied soldiers are dying and being maimed every day, tens and sometimes hundreds of innocent civilians are killed daily, and billions of dollars are being wasted and millions of lives being destroyed for no good reason apart from the overweening egos of politicians who are not prepared to admit that they are wrong.
The grim bottom line is that American military and foreign policy is bust and the greatest imperial power the world has ever known is failing. U.S. President Barack Obama promised to be different, but he has become trapped as a gear-lever in the same broken machine.
Phi Beta Iota: Apart from the stunning graphics, click on the photo of the two faces stitched together to get to a compelling article on veterans and families of veterans being against both elective wars, both wars of the rich of no benefit to the public.
Release of 92,000 Afghan war documents by WikiLeaks highlighted America’s plight, even though the documents mostly confirmed things already known: The war is not going as well as Washington pretends; soldiers are killing more civilians than they admit; the Taliban possess surface to air missiles; Afghan security forces on whom Washington has lavished so much money are no match for the Taliban; and efforts to defeat the Taliban are being undermined by Pakistani intelligence providing information, money and arms to the insurgents.
The White House complained that the leaks could give aid and comfort to the enemy. However, former general and head of Pakistan’s intelligence agency Hamid Gul claimed that the release of the documents was part of a devious plot by Obama to cut his losses and retire, defeated, from Afghanistan. Gul claims that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is a “war against Muslims.”
It is not just a question of money going down the drain, though at a time of economic hardship, governments are irresponsible being so profligate. A trillion dollars could pay for gasoline for all American drivers for more than two years, or give every household two state- of-the-art 73-inch televisions, or buy 5.5 million typical American homes or 40.8 million new Volkswagens.
More to the point, a trillion dollars would pay for the Afghan budget for 303 years or give every Afghan, man, woman and child $35,000 each, or provide enough money for each Afghan to live at present low levels of income for 77 years — or only 44 years adjusted for purchasing power parity.
Thanks to the Wikileaks Twitter feed(er) for this source
+ Graphic: Medard Gabel’s Cost of Peace versus War
+The Price for Peace: Abundance for All and How to Pay for it Using Military Expenditures
+ Price of Peace poster (pdf)
+ VETS AND MILITARY FAMILIES SAY REACTION TO WIKILEAKS CLOUDS REAL ISSUES