There is a number you should bear in mind the next time you hear an American neoconservative (a.k.a. “warmonger”) touting some new military misadventure in a foreign land – or going apoplectic when the termination of a current military misadventure is proposed.
(And yes, we are looking at you, U.S. senator Lindsey Graham …)
The number? $6.4 trillion …
According to the latest estimates from Brown University’s Costs of War project, that is the projected two-decade tab for the so-called “War on Terror” which began on October 7, 2001 – more than eighteen years ago.
Of that total, $5.4 trillion “has funded, and will continue to fund, counterterrorism wars and smaller operations in more than 80 countries” while an additional “minimum” of $1 trillion will “provide care for veterans of those wars through the next several decades.”
And yes … it should be abundantly clear to anyone with even a rudimentary conception of arithmetic the extent to which the “War on Terror” is fueling America’s skyrocketing deficits and its ballooning national debt, the latter of which eclipsed the $23 trillion mark earlier this fall.
(Click to view)
(Via: U.S. Marines)
“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Catherine Lutz, co-director of the project. “These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago. We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”
According to Lutz spending on the “War on Terror” is the driving force behind the massive recent increases in military appropriations.
“If you count all parts of the federal budget that are military related – including the nuclear weapons budget, the budget for fuel for military vehicles and aircraft, funds for veteran care – it makes up two thirds of the federal budget, and it’s inching toward three quarters,” she said. “I don’t think most people realize that, but it’s important to know. Policymakers are concerned that the Pentagon’s increased spending is crowding out other national purposes that aren’t war.”
That is the cost in treasure … what of the cost in blood?
In a separate report, Lutz and her colleague Neta Crawford estimated that anywhere between 770,000 and 801,000 people have perished since America launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, nearly 336,000 – or 42 percent – were civilians. Meanwhile, more than 7,000 of the dead were American soldiers – and another 1,300 of those who lost their lives were journalists or humanitarian workers.
(Click to view)
For the better part of the past decade, this news outlet has made our views on this subject abundantly clear – criticizing the administrations of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for launching/ waging open-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“America should have never gotten into either of these wars,” we wrote way back in 2012. “There was never a compelling national interest to do so, just a loosely defined desire to wage ‘War on Terror.’ And assuming you’re naïve enough to believe that there was some sort of compelling national interest justifying our involvement in Afghanistan or Iraq, then at the very least we should have entered into each conflict with clear objectives, a timetable for achieving them and an exit strategy. As it stands now we’re just being bled dry … literally and in the wallet.”
And the bleeding continues to this day …
U.S. president Donald Trump has sought to curtail some of America’s global interventionist tendencies, but he has repeatedly bowed to the warmongers when it mattered. He has also refused to rein in huge increases in “defense” spending earmarked for the prosecution of this ongoing conflict.
(Click to view)
(Via: U.S. Air Force)
“Why has Trump supported massive escalations in military spending at a time when he was pulling back from unchecked, unsustainable imperialism?” we wondered in a post just last month.
We don’t know … but it seems to us as though the primary objective in restraining unnecessary interventionism abroad ought to be reducing financial obligations back home. Which would have the added benefit of not needlessly provoking old enemies (or inviting new ones) to wage war on America.
Especially when we are not their real enemy in the first place …
To be clear: Our non-interventionist world view is not a pacifist world view. As we have often noted, any attack against the American homeland (or any essential American interest abroad) must be met with a definitionally disproportionate response.
Total destruction …
Sadly, our “leaders” seem to prefer occupation to annihilation … a distinction which, not surprisingly, facilitates the peddling of multi-billion dollar “defense” contracts in Washington, D.C.
Such contracts are clearly no longer sustainable, however, as the latest Costs of War report capably demonstrates.
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