10b) Balancing the budget – Let’s bring our boys & girls home
We need to decide that we can no longer afford to be the World’s Cop. I realize that we have taken action to back away from both Afghanistan and Iraq and that has been a big contributor to reducing the deficit. In my opinion, this is not enough. We need to back completely away or at least set a firm date for total withdrawal. We need to allow these countries to govern themselves, even though we disagree with the perceive outcome. I do not understand how we can put our boy and girls in harm’s way not to mention the cost to the taxpayer?
The estimated cost of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan is in the $4-$6 trillion range. Not all of this is defense related as a significant portion will be spent on disability and rehabilitation of the wounded. We currently spend almost $600 Billion a year on defense. Of that approximately 1/3 of that amount is directly related to funding for Iraq & Afghanistan. It would be difficult to immediately turn off the flow of funding, but I suspect that a plan could be devised to reduce the outflow by 2/3rds in short order. This would amount to a savings of $ 130 billion in the first 12 months, more down the road. Again, there are related health care costs associated with our military efforts.
“Study: Iraq, Afghan war costs to top $4 trillion
By Ernesto Londoño March 28, 2013
The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.
Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.
“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,” the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.””
I am in favor of strategic strikes against terrorist targets, but much prefer the use of unmanned drones operated from outside the targeted area. I’m in favor of protecting our young people from harm using any means possible. One wonders how many young Americans have been maimed or killed to protect our international business interests.
Please stay tuned next week for more on this issue