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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  What we’ve paid for war in Afghanistan and Iraq
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Thursday, August 14,2014

What we’ve paid for war in Afghanistan and Iraq

By Jim Hightower

War is hell.

Major General Harold Greene could certainly tell you about that — but he’s dead. On August 5, General Green became the highest-ranking American soldier to die in our unfathomable, 13-year war in Afghanistan, joining 2,339 other service members who’ve paid the ultimate price for being sent by warmongering politicians into that fight for … well, for what?

No political leader has offered a credible answer for why our troops have been made to sacrifice so much for so little. Indeed, how bitterly ironic that the general was not killed by the Taliban, whom we’re supposedly fighting, but by one of the Afghan government’s own soldiers, whom we’re supposedly helping.

Also, the hellish absurdity of our political leaders’ quick-draw approach to war can be seen in a recent report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service on how much the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are costing us taxpayers. The tally has now topped a trillion dollars—not counting the future health care bill for veterans or the enormous interest payments that’ll be made on that debt, which will multiply the trillion-dollar outlay three-or-fourfold.

And the meter is still running. The Pentagon, White House and Congress intend to keep a contingent of soldiers and trainers in the line of fire in both countries for the foreseeable future, plus providing more billions of dollars to both countries for building their infrastructure and education systems.

Meanwhile, a trillion dollars and so many American lives later, Iraq is in chaos and falling apart, and Afghanistan is mired in corruption and facing a Taliban takeover.

Think what a trillion dollars could’ve done for America’s infrastructure, educational system and middle-class opportunities if invested here in the past decade.

War is hell … and this one is stupid.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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