Paying the price of the Afghanistan war

The good news is that the U.S. Senate and House are at last uniting in a truly bipartisan push to put billions of our tax dollars into the urgent national need for better schools, transportation and other essential services.

Unfortunately, these billions are going to Afghanistan.

Not to say we shouldn’t help the oppressed, impoverished, widely illiterate, war-ravaged people of that tribal nation, but this huge expenditure is not about humanitarianism. To the contrary, it’s about war. Worse, it’s about sustaining a corrupt, inept and wildly unpopular Afghan regime, hoping to bribe it and the nation to support our illdefined military objectives. As fast as we ship money in, President Hamid Karzai’s elite cronies siphon off billions of those dollars for themselves, stashing the money in Dubai and other enclaves of privilege.

Money aside, a bipartisan majority of Washington politicos continues to spend the blood of our troops on a mission that makes no sense. Again and again, a tiny fraction of our people are being recycled into this brutal winless war, while the vast majority of us pay no attention and make no sacrifice — not even paying for the war, instead putting the financial cost on the credit card of future generations.

Well, bark the war’s supporters, what would you do in Afghanistan? Nothing. Instead, I would do something honest in Washington: Pass legislation to re-instate the draft, with no deferments for the sons and daughters of privilege. If a war truly is worth fighting, then everyone should get a shot at it. Either the whole nation goes to war — or no one does.

Whether Republican or Democrat, those who insist that Afghanistan is worth the blood and treasure America is spending there should put their conviction to a real test: Let their loved ones be at risk.

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