Jul 11, 2011

America’s Addiction to War Spending

Todd StrandbergBy Todd Strandberg
Rapture Ready

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Drug addiction creates many regrets. One of the most frequently cited remorse is all the money that drug addicts blow to finance their habit. The lead singer of the rock band Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, said in a recent interview that he spent more than $20 million on drugs in the eighties. “I spent more than $20 million on drugs. I sold my Porsche, I sold my personal jet, I sold my house in that waste of alcohol and drugs, and all of this made me feel lost,” Tyler admitted in his autobiography.

In recent years, there have been a growing number of signs that America has a compulsion that puts Mr. Tyler and every other rock star to shame. Uncle Sam has an addiction to war spending. Our involvement started out as a defensive action in response to the 9/11 attacks, and over time, the effect has degenerated into a mindless obsession. We spend billions of dollars each month on campaigns that have no real goals.

Commentator Pat Buchanan gave a good description of our situation. He said on the “Morning Joe” program, "The United States is strategically overextended worldwide. What are we doing borrowing money from Japan to defend Japan? Borrow money from Europe to defend Europe. Borrow money from the Persian Gulf to defend the Persian Gulf. This country is overextended. It is an empire and the empire is coming down."

President Barack Obama has certainly not lived up to the standards of the Nobel Peace prize he was given a couple of years ago. Since Obama had only been in office ten months, the committee gave him the award for all the things he would do in the future.

Rather than being the great peacemaker, the president has gotten us involved in three more conflicts. We are now fighting in Libya, Yemen, and Northern Pakistan. We are still stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, Obama announced that he has a new plan to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, beyond the scheduled December withdrawal date.

It was just last year that I mentioned a report that put the total cost of the war in just Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan at $1.2 trillion. A new assessment by Brown University 's Watson Institute for International Studies comes up with a much higher tab. According to their research, the final bill will run at least $3.3 trillion - and it could reach as high as $4.4 trillion.

In the ten years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan, we have spent $2.3 hunting al Qaeda leaders. The costs will continue to rise, even if we left today. An often-overlooked cost is the long-term obligations to wounded veterans. We now have more than 44,000 individual soldiers that have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their care will add another $1 trillion in just the next eight years.

It is possible for a country to extract itself from the Middle East conflict. Canada has just formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan after years of being on the front lines. In May, Britain ended its military mission in Iraq. America seems to be the only nation that lacks an exit strategy.

It would be a different matter if the U.S. had a surplus of money that it could use to fund the War on Terror. Our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, and no one in Washington is willing to consider our war cost as part of the problem.

A major cause for the fall of the Roman Empire was its spending on constant wars. Money that could have been used to maintain the empire went instead to fielding a large army. The citizens of the Roman Empire believed so strongly in their greatness that they lacked the ability to assess the danger caused by their own excess.

I think America suffers from the same delusion that blinded the Romans. We are the world’s sheriff, and we’re going to stay on the job until every villain is defeated. Because sin is a basic part of the human condition, I don’t think we could accomplish this goal if we had $100 trillion.

Sometime in the near future, our national credit card is going to come back rejected. Our role in all these military endeavors will come to an end as we find ourselves short of cash. Since Bible prophecy has no direct mention of America, it seems to support this scenario. The Antichrist will be the world’s greatest military leader. America’s sudden departure from the field would indicate the way is being cleared for his arrival.

Related Links

Panetta Says U.S. Presence in Iraq Will Endure - New York Times
The Military Industrial Complex: The Enemy from Within - Rutherford Institute (John W. Whitehead)
Libya and US Debt: Another Treasury-Draining War - Fog City Journal (Ralph E. Stone)
Obama, Party Leaders To Meet Again On Debt Deal - FOX Business
U.S. House approves $649 bln for defense in 2012 - Reuters