The costs of the Afghanistan war

The costs of the Afghanistan war

By John J. Duncan Jr.

K.T. McFarland told Maria Bartiromo on August 15 that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan in 2001 shortly after we responded in a very forceful way to the attacks of 9/11.

McFarland was Deputy National Security Advisor to President Trump and was one of the most respected members of his administration.

She told Ms. Bartiromo that the U.S. has never been successful at nation building which is what we tried to do for 20 years in Afghanistan.

The lesson that we seem to be unable to learn is that the people who live in a country are the ones who have to build it or rebuild it. No one else can do that for them and it often creates resentment when an outsider even tries.

An Associated Press story of August 16 said “America expended the most lives, dollars, on the most inconclusive years of the war.”

Our military adventure there has already cost over two trillion dollars and will cost this much or more in the future.

Linda Bilmes, a senior lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard, told the Associated Press that repeated deployments there have caused disability rates more than double the rate of Vietnam veterans.

She has estimated that the U.S. will spend more than another two trillion caring for Afghan and Iraq war veterans as they age, peaking 30 to 40 years from now.

William Bee, a veteran of four deployments, said he was excited when he flew into Afghanistan on Christmas Day of 2001.

Now, he says he “wouldn’t trade a handful of Afghan villages for one marine.”

The really sad thing is that the war lasted as long as it did and more people were killed or maimed just because it meant more money for the Pentagon and defense contractors.

And we have had too many people in both Republican and Democratic administrations in the White House and the Pentagon who felt more important with a war going on.

We have had far too many who wanted to be seen as modern-day Winston Churchills or as great war leaders.

Now we have seen the $88 billion that we spent training and paying the Afghan military and police go down the drain after they cut and ran at the first sign of trouble.

And we have left behind mega billions in very expensive military weapons and equipment, planes and helicopters, so that now the Taliban is better equipped than all but a few foreign countries.

We could and should have done a phased, orderly withdrawal of people and equipment years ago.

Now, as Ben Domenech wrote on The Federalist website, even the “most recent predictions were completely off” by the “experts” at the NSA the CIA, and the Pentagon.

Domenech also wrote that the “Afghanistan skeptics who pointed out that we were throwing good money after bad are totally vindicated by this.”

Columnist Kurt Schlichter said our military is now a “woke joke” and we should fire all the generals and politicians who delight in sending our young people overseas to get ground up in idiotic wars designed to enrich their cronies.”

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