Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Syria: By the Poll Numbers

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 12.11 pm

20%: Americans who think military action in Syria would be in the U.S. national interest

27%: Americans who think a military strike would improve the situation in Syria

17%: Independents who say a strike would improve the situation

30%: Democrats who say the same

31%: Republicans who agree

42%: Americans who back the use of military force against the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons

34%: Americans who still backed the use of military force in Syria after they had digested “a lot” of information on the Syrian government’s alleged chemical attacks

80%: Public approval for the 1990 Gulf War before it began

90%: Support for the U.S. action in Afghanistan before it began

76%: Approval for the Iraq invasion in 2003


“There are real concerns about the efficacy of action and deep fears of U.S. entanglement in Syria,” said James Lindsay, a foreign-policy expert and former Clinton administration official. “The public has a clear case of intervention fatigue after 12 years of engagement overseas, the longest stretch in U.S. history.”

Four takeaways here:

  1. That first figure indicates a growing understanding that just because we could invade somewhere doesn’t mean we need to or have to.
  2. If you had doubts about how similar establishment Republican and establishment Democratic foreign policy views are, have them no more — accounting for the margin of error, those numbers are identical.
  3. The more information someone has about this situation, the more likely they are to oppose intervention. For the blogger, this means: Keep writing. Keep spreading the word. Keep asking people to contact their reps to oppose this war. It can make a difference.
  4. Although there are apparently some irrational people who support war even though they don’t think it will improve the situation, overall, these numbers show progress: This is not 1990 or 2001 or 2003. We are tired of war, and it shows.

The Costs of War

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 11.32 am

I’m researching some of the costs of America’s wars since 2001 for a work project today. Most of this I’ve read about before — it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with most of the data. But all put together, it’s pretty heart-breaking. Here’s a sampling:


  • $6 trillion+: The final costs of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • $16 trillion: The national debt
  • $720 million: The price of one day at war in Iraq
  • $300 million: One day of war in Afghanistan
  • $132 billion and growing: Annual Dep’t of Veterans Affairs budget
  • $50 billion: What we were told Iraq would cost


  • Warrantless wiretapping
  • Indefinite detention
  • 1.7 billion of our emails read daily
  • Suppression of free speech
  • TSA security theater
  • Assassination of Americans


  • 1 million+ excess deaths in Iraq
  • 7.8 million+ refugees in Iraq
  • 6,518 American soldiers dead in Iraq and Afgh.
  • 16,495 total U.S. military deaths 2001-2010
  • 48,430 Americans wounded in Iraq and Afgh.
  • 1,655 military amputations from battle
  • 300,000 veterans have PTSD
  • 50 civilians killed for every one terrorist

The constant posture of attack our foreign policy takes today simply doesn’t work, and its price is high in dollars, freedom, and lives. If we want a safer and saner America, it’s time to end the wars.

[Sources include: 123456789.]

A short and incomplete summary of why our foreign policy cannot continue as it has for the last decade.

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 6.32 pm

As is now (hopefully) increasingly common knowledge, our numerous occupations in the Middle East and Africa were not sparked by those countries attacking us.  Rather, with the possible exception of the War in Afghanistan — which has lasted an outrageously long time with huge costs of both blood and treasure, our 5+ wars are unwarranted wars of aggression rendered unconstitutional by their lack of official declaration by the Congress and unaffordable by our $15 trillion national debt.

The CIA estimates there are fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, and yet we linger with tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of billions of dollars spent.  Recall also that many of the people we’re fighting there we were training just a few decades years ago, possibly including even bin Laden himself.

We’re finally pulling out of Iraq, left unstable and arguably more dangerous than we found it — not to mention the hundreds of thousands of excess civilian deaths our intervention has caused there.

In Libya, we’re not really sure who we supported or if the new government will even be friendly to us.  Many of the rebels we helped are backed by al Qaeda, our enemies just a few countries away.

In Pakistan, our drone operations are permitted to kill 50 civilians — including women and children — for every one terrorist they get, and no one is required to report to the public who is killed.

In Somalia, we’re engaging in covert operations in a dangerous and morally dubious situation which is none of our business and stretches our military — already posted in 900 bases in more than 130 nations around the world — almost thinner than it can stand.

Now, one might argue that it’s somehow OK for the U.S. to engage in this kind of global military expansion, because we’re the good guys, right?  But, as I’ve shown, in many cases we haven’t the foggiest clue who the good guys are, and often end up doing more harm than good to our own defense in the long term.  Perhaps more importantly, how would we like it if we were on the other end of our clumsy, bloody, and expensive foreign policy?  A little consideration of the golden rule might go a long way.