During the late news last night they reported that the US is spending about two billion dollars a month on the war against terror. I sat there for a moment and then I thought about it… $2,000,000,000.00 a month; what could be done with that? Could we cure all cancer? Could we end hunger, poverty or illiteracy with this kind of money?
According to the National Priorities Project we have spent $467 billion to date. Staggering. This war, which began on March 30, 2003 and continues today, is quickly becoming the costliest war in American history. In contrast World War II cost the United States $288 billion in 1945 dollars. That is over three trillion dollars, it would look like this; $3,189,752,033,348.
OK, so we haven’t yet spent anywhere near what we did on WWII, right? For just a moment remember that WWII was a multi-theater war with almost every nation caught in the conflict, fought in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, all across Europe, Asia and northern Africa too. (Did I leave anything out?) The war on terror, waged primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan so far, has been waged for the most part by Americans.
Yes, I know; we have allies there with us. Sorta. The smart ones bailed as soon as they could. The WMD debacle squandered trust and friendship all across the world when it comes to international relations. The ones that are left are there at their own political peril. What began as a true coalition has since become the US and her closest allies; mainly other British colonies as it were.
I know I don’t normally write about my political views, but why is it OK for this war to continue? Why are American’s not in the streets nightly demanding the cessation of all hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan where US men and women are concerned? Is it the old argument that we are there to protect our loved ones back in America? Are they fighting to bring democracy to the region? Is someone waiting in the wings to spring terrorism on us again if we pull out?
Let me state here and now that I am not a pacifist. True, I am no war-hawk, my hands don’t ache for the feel of the M-16, but I still hear the hymn of the United States Marine Corps when I brush my teeth. (Inside joke for other Marines.) I believe there is such a thing as a righteous war, a war that simply must be fought. Sometimes the only course of action that a nation can take is the use of force. But this war is beyond that pale.
Hey, let’s try this: suspend the war for a few months. Take eight or ten billion dollars and set up a hospital somewhere or build a college in Guatemala or something like that. Let’s take that money and feed the homeless in California or build new homes for the twenty-two thousand Americans still living in FEMA housing after Hurricane Katrina.
If that is a complete waste of time, whatever, start shooting again. Something tells me that it won’t be a waste of time or money.
We need to remember that we are all one race of man. We are all worthy of loving-kindness, respect and compassion. How can any of us truly be happy while there are others suffering?