Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Afghan War is Brutal, Expensive, Unpopular, and Ineffective – So Why Are We Spending Billions on It?

By Sonali Kolhatkar, ZNet, March 6, 2011
Source: Alternet
 
“The sad truth is that Obama’s war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than I expected.” – Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords

While millions of Americans are experiencing unemployment, wage stagnation, rising tuition, dwindling social services, and poverty at levels not seen since the Great Depression, an unjustifiably large proportion of our taxes are being used to cause death and destruction in Afghanistan. With Afghanistan being the longest war the U.S. has ever officially waged, we should carefully examine the costs of the war – financial and otherwise – and ask ourselves, is it really worth it?


The war costs taxpayers between $500,000 to $1 million per soldier in Afghanistan every year. Since President Obama deployed thousands of more troops than Bush, the escalating war has come with a bloated price tag. So far, we have spent $336 billion on the war, and if Congress approves a request for additional funding, that number will go up to $455.4 billion – nearly half a trillion dollars. According to CostofWar.com, just the $120 billion in additional funding could fund 1.6 million elementary school teachers for a year, 1.9 million firefighters for a year, or $5,550 Pell Grants for 19.3 million students. A single month’s expenses on the Afghanistan war could pay for 46.9 billion meals for the hungry each month. Six months’ worth of Afghanistan war expenses could pay for school supplies for every single child in the world.

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