As President Obama starts our intervention into yet another war in Syria and members call for even greater intervention, we have another measure of how costly our war in Afghanistan has been. Stars and Stripes is reporting that the U.S. will abandon or destroy $7 billion in equipment rather than ship it home under the tight schedule for withdrawal. Once again, history will record the insanity of both President Bush and President Obama in spending hundreds of billions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while cutting key educational, environmental, and scientific programs needed in this country. Members who rail against support for things like NPR will not even take note of $7 billion in equipment going up in smoke in Afghanistan. In the perfect metaphor, the billions of dollars of scrap metal will be turned into Afghan pennies.
Some 20 percent of our equipment in Afghanistan will be destroyed or abandoned rather than ship it home. Much of the equipment will be shredded to make pennies for Afghans.
By the way, some of the trashed equipment will be the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles that were built at huge expensive starting in 2007. Now a few year later, the Pentagon says that it really does not see the use for about 12,300 of its 25,500 MRAPs. These vehicles cost $1 million each and will now be turned into pennies or scrap.
Once again, certain Afghan companies will be rich off the program which is selling millions of pounds of scrap for a few cents per pound.
The military says that transporting the equipment would cost $2 billion to $3 billion and repairing the gear would cost $8 billion to $9 billion.
Even accepting this cost-benefit analysis, we are still left with the insane cost of these wars. Few people in government are willing to admit how little we have accomplished in these wars. China is moving into Iraq and taking oil rights and other benefits. Iraq has moved under the sphere of influence of Iran. The Taliban is on the rise in Afghanistan and we continue to be hated in many areas. For our part, we have tens of thousands of wounded or dead soldiers and hundreds of billions in cost.
Now on to Syria . . .
Source: Stars and Stripes