Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
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.
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.
Posted on November 6, 2011 at 3.59 pm
As we headed to war in the aftermath of September 11, I remember wondering how long the wars would last and when we would return to peace — to “normal.”
In my defense, I was very young at the time.
I offer a defense because arguably peace has never been the normal for the United States. Depending on one’s opinion of how large a military conflict must be to properly call it a war — and whether or not smaller conflicts can still be considered a breach of the peace — peace has basically never happened since 1776. Even if we only look at the larger conflicts which nearly everyone would accept as “wars” in a strict sense, it’s only in the latter half of the 19th century that we find more than two decades — a generation — of peace.
The Pax Americana is, to put it mildly, a bit of a misnomer. Peace has never really been the norm in the United States.
Nonetheless, the easy acceptance of multiple, small, overlapping wars strikes me as something new. Perhaps this is my youth talking again, but bear with me:
The long saga of invasion in Iraq is finally over — or at least has morphed into a low-profile, largely privatized new phase of nation-building. In the real world, of course, the American empire is still very much involved in Iraq, but in the mind of the average citizen with more immediate things on their minds, this is one war we can check off the list. Mission belatedly accomplished.
In Afghanistan, too, we’re told that American military combat will be coming to an end sooner than expected — the original deadline being set all the way in December 2014. This may never actually occur, but the recent media buzz around the subject may certainly serve to allay some uninformed fears about an overly long engagement in Obama’s pet war.
In Libya, too, NATO has achieved “victory” — albeit victory which in no way precludes ongoing U.S. intervention.