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Sequestration Anxiety? War Costs Could Have Paid for All Those Cuts

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, bush, congress, economy, government, military, politics, propaganda, republicans, usa, war )

- 1939 days ago -
If the U.S. had not launched two full-scale post 9/11 invasions, our budget woes might all be solved--and a half million people would be alive or unmaimed.

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JL A (281)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 2:42 pm

Sequestration Anxiety? War Costs Could Have Paid for all Those Cuts
If the U.S. had not launched two full-scale post 9/11 invasions, our budget woes might all be solved—and a half million people would be alive or unmaimed.
By Sean J. Miller
March 1, 2013
Congress is struggling to avert $1.2 trillion in spending cuts
Congress is struggling to avert $1.2 trillion in spending cuts while studies show that $1.283 trillion has gone to fighting the post-9/11 conflicts. (Photo: Ryan D. McLearnon/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

No one likes a told-you-so or a Monday-morning Commander in Chief, but with Congress and the president bickering over which essential government programs to cut due to a looming budget sequester, it’s no time to worry about being popular.

The irritating question begs to be raised: Would the United States be in a budget crisis today if it hadn’t thrown so much of the public purse at overseas conflicts during the past dozen years? And were those foreign war expenditures worth the price?

The stated purpose of the post-9/11 wars was to eliminate the perceived threat posed to America from al Qaeda’s sanctuary in Afghanistan and Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. The conflicts displaced the equivalent of the populations of Oregon and Connecticut. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, and a lesser number of soldiers, have been killed. And beyond the human cost, more than $1 trillion in taxpayer funds have gone to increasing homeland security, overseas fighting and treating injured veterans.
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The cost of the nation’s wars is being overshadowed in Washington these days as lawmakers flounder in a financial quandary of their own making. The Budget Control Act, passed in 2011 and signed by President Obama, mandates cuts to federal spending of $1.2 trillion over nine years starting in 2013. Eighty-five billion dollars of those across-the-board cuts are set to kick in on Friday, March 1, which has Washington in a shambles.

Those billions sound like big numbers by almost any standard of measure, but not when stacked against the financing of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brown University’s study of the costs of the post-9/11 conflicts puts the war bill, including the price of treating wounded veterans for years to come, at nearly $4 trillion.

"Of that astronomical number, only 1 percent was for medical care for veterans and 5 percent for diplomacy and foreign aid programs."

A 2011 study by the Congressional Research Service found that Congress has approved $1.283 trillion for “military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks.”

Of that astronomical number, only 1 percent was for medical care for veterans and 5 percent for diplomacy and foreign aid programs. Meanwhile, military operations in Iraq received about $806 billion and the war in Afghanistan $444 billion.

The drone program’s budget contains one telling figure from the military expenditures. A study by Time magazine found that $30 billion in taxpayer money had gone to keep the drones in the air since 2001. Over the next decade, as the Pentagon advances a plan to purchase about 730 new medium-sized and large unmanned drones, that number will rise to $37 billion for a 10-year period.

Of course, these numbers only tell part of the story, the dollars part.

Brown’s researchers estimate that some 313,890 individual human beings have died in the post-9/11 conflicts. That includes an estimated 152,280 to 192,550 civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

The rest of the total is made up of allied uniformed troops, American contractors, national military and civil police in the war zones, opposition forces, journalists, and humanitarian and NGO workers.
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Of the more than 300 thousand dead, 6,630 are American service members. Another 50,000 troops were wounded, and thousands more are suffering from emotional trauma related to combat.

If Congress is searching for places to cut budgetary corners, war spending is as good a place as any to start looking.

How could you have better spent the money and lives consumed by America’s post 9/11 conflicts? Or was that the best use of those resources?

Mitchell D (87)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 2:48 pm
Thank you, George W. and Dick C!!
For whatever other, selfish, I do not doubt, reasons they took an economy in the black and turned it on its head!

Nancy M (169)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 3:18 pm
Exactly! Thanks JL A

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 3:47 pm
Yup, the last ten years of war cost about as much as one year's deficit. Not having those wars would have delayed the financial trouble by at least a year, maybe even two.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 3:59 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Nancy because you have done so within the last day.

Beverly T (82)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 5:32 pm
Ahhgggh.... but you guys just don't seem understand. Haliburton just HAD to make all that money. How were they supposed to buy Cheney and the rest of the "Good Ole Boys" and still have billions in chump change to put in THEIR pockets? One might actuallly think that you believe America is the land of the FREE !!!
Sheesh...what idiots you are !!!

I hope I don't have to point out that this is pure sarcasm.

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 5:44 pm
The war in Iraq prevented Arabs from using the "oil weapon" for a while. At the same time, horizontal fracking is making the U.S. oil-independent. If the U.S. needs that oil to get food to cities one way or the other, it's kinda odd that the same people tend to oppose both the fracking and the wars, while on the other side, the same people seem to support both despite Middle Eastern and American oil being in competition.

JL A (281)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 5:57 pm
The dependency is fueled in part by failing to invest in alternate transportation and energy infrastructure which seems to have trails to the fossil fuel companies' lobbying efforts.

Vicky P (476)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 6:08 pm
sickening, so many people died and most people just shrug their shoulders :/

Winnie A (179)
Monday March 4, 2013, 5:58 am

Gloria p (304)
Monday March 4, 2013, 6:03 am
We might have had a decent country left without #43 and his wars.

Ro H (0)
Monday March 4, 2013, 6:32 am

JL A (281)
Monday March 4, 2013, 7:44 am
You are welcome Ro

Beverly T (82)
Monday March 4, 2013, 8:00 am
Stephen Brian.....Everyone

I found this short and concise "in a nutshell" article on the subject of the oil in America vs the oil in the East complete with charts for the ultimate outcomes. Pretty sure further digging into this will turn up even more supportive facts. I actually bookmarked this for future use/reference. We all seem to forget that at one time Bush was quite COZY with the Ben Laden family.

Enlightenment can be rather distrubing.

JL A (281)
Monday March 4, 2013, 8:08 am
Thanks for providing the contextual information and data Beverly! Disturbing indeed! You cannot currently send a star to Beverly because you have done so within the last day.

Arielle S (313)
Monday March 4, 2013, 9:37 am
"#43" ~ LOL ~ I like that. From now, I won't have to say the name of he who should have been in prison by now, I can just refer to him as #43 - and I guess that would make Cheney #43b? Lots of people made a lot of money off the blood of innocents - between that and this debt we now have, karma is going to be a bitch for them.

Jae A (316)
Monday March 4, 2013, 10:00 am
Great read..both the article and comments...

#43 and #43B.... By 'george' I think we got it. I so agree Arielle :-).

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday March 4, 2013, 3:20 pm
I don't think the U.S.'s failure to invest in alternate modes of transportation really come from fossil fuel companies' lobbying. It comes from consumer-choices and technological challenges. The only well-tested form of effective long-distance transportation which does not use fossil fuelds is electric railway, but place where a road is built alongside a railway, people drive.

There are a few problems with electric transportation which we have yet to solve, leaving us dependent on oil: First, there is the electric load. Transportation takes a lot of energy, and I don't know if the current electric grid could handle a changeover to electric vehicles. Second, there is safe high-density energy-storage. According to Wikipedia, gasoline gives ~ 46 MJ per kilogram. Big lithium batteries can do ~ 1.8. The classic problem has been that to store enough energy to get from one charging station to the next, electric cars become so heavy that they are terribly energy-inefficient. To get around this, people use extremely lightweight materials in the rest of the vehicle, but strong lightweight materials have only recently become available at all, and are still too expensive for most consumers. There are now some ideas with supercapacitors, but we still have to get thoe working and cheap enough to use.

They don't have to lobby against changes in transportation. Consumers and the state of modern technology do the job for them.

l L (1)
Monday March 4, 2013, 3:38 pm
I remember we our country invaded a country for one reason after another.. All lies How to we go from WMD's to Operation Iraq' freedom to killing its peoples with crimes against humanity and paying contractors who we find out after the fact they are committing crimes against humanity in americans name. Then they have a nerve not to care. They think it should be swept under the rug and all is forgiven? They think after decades of false flag wars, crimes against humanity, friendly fires, exposure to agent orange and the gulf war syndrone, we are just to sweep it all under the rug and let it go and move forward and admit to ourselves we caused our own problems and should never blame others for our plight. Any conversation should be for gone cause no one is to blame but us. I don't agree with any of that. My convictions won't let me.
Not to say ; about the experiments done on society The dropping of drugs by Bush and the cia to destroy in america. They are honored and reverenced and everyone else suffers. That's right I'm suppose to move forward , not look backward. They keep cutting the budget I am looking right at you.
President Obama has gotten all the free passes for his so called mistakes of his first term. He ran as a democrat but supports the republican agenda.. He helps their cause.. He campaigned on being different, but gets in office and does the same things. He has said he will do his grand bargain and hurt all of us himself.

Yes he's black but he is the president. We hired him to do our bidding and not be a republican.
I am really sick and tired of this. You have to watch how he words things cause he is saying what they are saying. He is a con man along with all the rest of them
. with corporate media. I am sick and tired of all the con games that hurt the rest of us.
I would like to see these lawmakers suffer like they make the rest of us suffer.
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