Our Unsuccessful War on Terror

The American taxpayers have spent almost $1.7 trillion on the “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

source mercatus.org

Looking at the chart, it strikes me that most of the money, of course, went to the Department of Defense. Very little, the green bars, went to the Department of State and to aid. And the VA Medical bars are not even recognizable on the bottom.

Looking at the chart, I also notice that expenditures kept going up year after year during the Bush years, and down during the Obama years.

The “war on terror” was supposed to get rid of terrorism, or at least the threat of terrorism.

Yet, there are more terrorists now than ever. ISIS is trying to build a nation state based on terrorism. That’s far worse than anything we have ever had before. Some say we have created this situation with our war on terror. I don’t know if we did. But I do know there are now more terrorists, there are more attacks, and there are more terror-related atrocities than ever before.

We have gotten a very lousy return on our investment. I would venture to guess if we had spent $1.7 trillion in our own country in the last 14 years we’d be vastly better off today, and there would be less terrorists out there. We should have minded our own business.

I think about that as the warmongers (like McCain) are eager to get us militarily involved with the Russians in Ukraine.

Do we ever learn?

The Permanent State of War

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001. As of today, this war has gone on for eleven years, two months and one day.

In comparison, the time the U.S. was engaged in war in the Civil War, WW-I and WW-II combined was nine years, seven months and seven days.

Since the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States has been operating under emergency wartime powers granted under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. This authorization grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities. It effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government considers an enemy.

We call this the “War on Terror.”

The Civil War and the two World Wars ended when a capitulation treaty was signed by the warring powers. There was a clear end to those wars. We knew when they were over. In the War on Terror, we’re fighting terrorists. While we have decimated many terrorist organizations, killed or captured many leaders, a whole new generation of youth has grown up to join the enemy. We will never completely eradicate al-Qaeda. We will never sit down with an al-Qaeda leader at a surrender meeting and sign a treaty. There will be terrorists in the world. We are not going to eradicate them all, especially not with guns and drones. We can only cripple their organizations, keep them down and on the defensive, and we can educate the countries that harbour them so their safe havens slowly disappear.

This War on Terror has cost us about $2 trillion so far, and it’s ongoing.

We can’t afford education in our country, and we continue to cut education budgets.

We can’t afford maintaining our infrastructure.

We can’t afford healthcare coverage for all.

But apparently we can afford foreign wars that get us nowhere, that cannot ever end, and that no longer make sense.