5:00 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull
On Monday, June 7, 2010, the Afghanistan War will complete its 104th month, replacing Vietnam as the longest war in U.S. history.
That’s an incredible investment of blood and treasure, and one that deepens by the minute. We’re spending $1 million per troop, per year in Afghanistan. To date, Congress has approved almost $300 billion in spending on the Afghanistan War. Combined with the costs for the war in Iraq, we’ve spent more than $1 trillion so far on war since 2001, just in direct costs. Right now, Congress is considering charging the U.S. taxpayer another $33 billion to pay for an ongoing troop increase.
And, don’t forget that more than 1,000 U.S. troops have died so far in this war.
If you’re like most people, the first word that comes to mind when presented with these facts is "depressing." This really is a tragic and terrible mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, right? There are enormous, critical issues we have to grapple with; Crushing national debt, hellish military occupations, even abstract (though no less "real") problems like what Tom Hayden calls "superpower arrogance," the institutionally-embedded idea that the US can enforce its national (i.e., selfish) interests worldwide with overwhelming military violence. One person, you, couldn’t possibly deal with this disaster.
But the truth is it really isn’t all that depressing. The problems are complex, confusing, and paralyzing, but the solutions are actually quite simple. Even as the war in Afghanistan becomes America’s Longest War with "no end in sight," as Andrew Bacevich says, we find that the key to ending the war has been right in front of us the whole time. There is, in fact, an end in sight and this grim milestone is our opportunity to finally notice it. Read the rest of this entry →