The Iraq War was based on a lie and the war in Afghanistan has become a boondoggle of epic proportion and yet we are still in both countries (and a few new ones!), with no clear endgame in sight.
The administration admits that there are around maybe around 50-100 Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan and yet we continue to funnel billions of dollars to the corrupt Karzai regime, who like the President of Iran, is widely believed to have stole the last election. Contractor abuse is still rampant and despite promises to do something about it, the Obama administration has largely continued the same pig-trough spending spree of the Bush administration. Here is an excellent example of a complete waste of taxpayer money, and for what?
Think Progress has made a list of 10 things Americans have given up so that the U.S. government could spend approximately $113 billion dollars in FY 2011 on Afghanistan alone (ie. not counting Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen etc.):
– Provide 57.5 Million Children With Low-Income Health Care For 2011
– Provide 23 Million People With Low-Income Health Coverage In 2011
– Give 20.2 Million $5,500 Pell Grants To Students In 2011
– Provide 14.35 million Military Veterans With VA Medical Care In 2011
– Give 14.7 million Children Head Start Funding In 2011
– Give 14.26 Million Scholarships To University Students In 2011
– Employ 1.93 million Firefighters In 2011
– Hire 1.75 Million Elementary School Teachers In 2011
– Hire 1.65 Million Police Officers In 2011
– Equip 67.8 Million Households With The Ability To Use Wind Power In 2011
– Equip 25.39 Million Households With The Ability To Use Solar Photovoltaic Energy In 2011
The money we are spending on “rebuilding” Afghanistan and Iraq is all the more disturbing given the number of Americans who have no health insurance, have lost their homes, can’t afford college and have trouble just making ends meet.
As a nation we have our priorities completely backwards. The gap between rich and poor is widening and Congress argues over every dime of domestic spending while unquestioningly tossing money at the Department of Defense.
What kind of nation are we going to be 10 or 20 years down the road? Countries like China are leap-frogging ahead of the U.S. by investing in infrastructure, education, manufacturing and green technology. You won’t hear me praise China very often but I think it’s pretty clear the writing is on the wall. At the same time revolution is sweeping the Arab world and why the Obama administration claims to understand the seismic shift and its consequences they cling to the same failed neoconservative policies of the past- policies which will only further isolate us in the Middle East and around the world.
The age of America’s economic and military/foreign policy dominance is over and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.