$23,000 per U.S. Citizen to Fight Wars Against Terrorism: Got Your Money’s Worth Yet?

The United States is expected to spend nearly $6 trillion through 2018 on government-wide costs related to the wars waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria since 2001, reveals a study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

According to Brown University’s Cost of War project analysis, authored by Neta Crawford, the total estimated cost of U.S. wars between 2001 and 2018 amounts to about $23,386 per individual American taxpayer, which is more than three times the amount ($7,740) calculated by the Pentagon.

$23K per U.S. citizen to fight the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria since 9/11. Got your money’s worth yet?

The question answers itself.

Lesson to be relearned here? You cannot solve a problem merely by throwing money at it.

Defense of American citizens is one of the few things our federal government does that’s actually mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Yet I think it’s safe to say that none of us are any safer since 9/11 from the kinds of threats that generated 9/11. In fact, we’re less safe than ever before.

None of this is a comment on the military. The military has done a phenomenal job under the impossible circumstances created by the government. Imagine yourself on a military mission commanded by Barack Obama. It’s amazing we even still have a military at all! I attribute this to the best and brightest in the military, who manage to exist despite the kind of people (Obama was a low point) we usually elect to run the military.

I’m more hopeful about our course under the Trump administration than under the Bush and Obama administrations. But I also know that’s not saying much. There’s nowhere to go but up.

Instead of fighting wars where the definition of victory is never defined — thereby creating the bottomless pit money-wise we now see — how about not aiding and abetting our enemies? We did so morally every time our former President Obama lectured Americans on how terrorism was essentially all our fault. We did so when we paid Iran money to build nuclear weapons they will almost certainly use against Israel and even ourselves, when and if they ever manage to build them. Ditto for North Korea, whom for decades we bribed in hopes of not creating the mess President Trump now endeavors to address.

It isn’t necessary to spend $23,000 per citizen to fight wars that lead nowhere other than senseless soldier deaths, horrific suicide rates for veterans and no end in sight to the wars. All we have to do is stop helping our enemies by giving them the moral, psychological and (consequently) military tools to destroy us.

If more Americans believed in America — liberty, individual rights, laissez-faire capitalism, and love of life on earth — then America would be a lot safer. We would not constantly be apologizing for ourselves and acting in senseless, contradictory ways with regard to our own interests. Terrorists and other irrational and evil people sense our inner uncertainty. If we were more confident, we’d be a hell of a lot stronger without nearly the need for so much war.

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