Dog Catcher’s thoughts: It is a bit strange that we are just now debating the war’s cost after 8 years of being in Afghanistan. Not only is it expensive but this is the highest year on record for casualties. Our troops are tired and it is also the highest year on record for military suicides.
The Bush Administration named its doctrine the Long War (DoD PowerPoint explaining the doctrine), and expectations were that we would be fighting it 10 years, 15 years or perhaps even indefinitely. Someone should have done a cost estimate. Someone should have leveled with the American people that the mission may never be accomplished, but that once you start a shooting war it isn’t over until someone loses or someone quits.
If I were a Democrat or America First kind of person: I would say no to delaying the health care debate. No to delaying the things that we never find time to discuss or get around to deciding on domestic issues. For the first time in 100 years we are actually close to having a health care vote in Congress. Theodore Roosevelt started the health care debate in 1909 and now in 2009 we want to delay due to national security costs? I would not trust Republicans to ever get around to revisiting the health care debate. Not some. Not at all. I would propose that we discuss national security costs instead.
If I were a Republican or national security before all else person: I would make the argument that America is essentially bankrupt and unfortunately we are not in a position to just walk away. And the status quo is not working either. So we need to get serious about pay-as-we-go; not only for the war but for everything. In Afghanistan we need to either totally change our game plan or step up our current game plan, which unfortunately will be expensive: about $1 million per every soldier we send to surge in Afghanistan.
As for Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) idea that we should get the rest of the world in on paying for the war: great idea but each of the nations in Afghanistan is already paying their own way. And European taxpayers are already paying for a “NATO” war that many of them find hard to understand. Won’t happen. But there is always the chance that we could make a case for it: the Pentagon reports that foreign countries paid for 97% of 1990’s Gulf War.
Hmmm? What would you do?
Fox News reports:
President Obama on Tuesday is expected to outline his plan to send around 30,000-35,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next 12-18 months. The prime time speech comes as the Senate begins debate this week on expanding coverage of health insurance to 30 million Americans for six years at a cost of $848 billion.
The cost of the war surge is being estimated at $1 million per soldier for one year on the ground — or $30 billion to $35 billion additional dollars next year based on the president’s expected announcement.
Opponents of the war say America can’t afford that cost.
“What’s happening now is not only a $12 trillion national debt, we’re in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The middle class is collapsing. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. “So I’ve got a real problem about expanding this war where the rest of the world is sitting around and saying, ‘Isn’t it a nice thing that the taxpayers of the United States and the U.S. military are doing the work that the rest of the world should be doing?'”
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