Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More

158px-flag_of_afghanistansvgPresident_Barack_ObamaDespite the public pledge of President Obama to pull out of Afghanistan, we continue to spend huge amounts of money in the war and the Obama Administration has fought to keep U.S. troops in the country. Now an estimate from the Financial Times and independent researchers put the cost of the war at roughly $1 trillion with a commitment of hundreds of billions more in the coming years. There continues to be no serious debate over our ongoing losses both in personnel and money in this war.

Science, educational, and infrastructure programs are being cut while the government pours billions into Iraq and Afghanistan. I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline for government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program, the Afghan war just continues on a mix of weak military commitment by the Afghans and an even weaker political commitment at home to the American people.

It boggles the mind to think what we could have done in education or infrastructure or the environment with $1 trillion. My kids are in public school in McLean where the Fairfax board has ordered classed of between 32-35 kids because of the lack of funds for new teachers. However, the country just gushes hundreds of billions of dollars in Afghanistan without even a note of concern.

One of the most interesting facts is that 80 per cent of this spending on the Afghanistan conflict has taken place during the presidency of Barack Obama.


76 thoughts on “Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More”

  1. The fact is torture may not get to truth but it is very successful in getting confessions and names of alleged terrorists to torture for yet more names.

    The best example of this is the Aafia Siddiqui affair. Through the obscuring clouds of dust and bull manure the outline of what happened is visible. The US tortured enhancedly interrogated a terrorist (Khaled Sheik Mohammad perhaps) for names of other terrorists and he gave them names but the US continued enhanced interrogation after he had run out of names of actual terrorists so he gave them names that he knew of people who were not terrorists. Perhaps he hoped that the US would recognize that these people had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism and realize that he had run dry of truthful information however this obviously did not work, since US authorities are incapable of ever coming to a conclusion that an accusation of terrorist associations could be false.

    The US asked the Pakistani ISI to arrest Aafia Siddiqui and render her to the US. The kidnapping occurred on 28 March 2003 when Aafia and her 3 children were in a taxi on the way to the airport to take a flight to Rawalpindi.
    Initially the Pakistani authorities admitted to having arrested her but soon this turned to denial and they ordered Siddiqui’s family to stay quiet if they ever wanted to see her alive again.

    Aafia Siddiqui claims that she was kept for more than 5 years in a series of secret prisons, was repeatedly and tortured. One of those prisons was Bagram since several detainees who were later released identified a female prisoner at Bagram with prison number 650 as being Aafia Siddiqui after having been shown a photograph.

    On 7 July 2008 Aafia reappeared on a street in Ghazni Afghanistan with a boy of the same age as her eldest son but who was not her son. An anonymous caller rang the Ghazni police to report a suspicious woman possibly a suicide bomber standing with a boy outside the palace of the Ghazni Governer. The Ghazni police picked Aafia and the boy up and left her in a room behind a curtain, they did not appear to think she was dangerous. Soon another anonymous call came to verify that the suicide bomber had been shot dead which the police did not confirm. There followed a panicked rush of US soldiers and FBI agents to the Ghazni police station and in the panic Aafia was shot in the abdomen. The US personnel all assert that Siddiqui had grabbed an assault rifle that one of the officers put down, yelled death to Americans and fired two shots which hit the walls. However forensic evidence was lacking, there were no fingerprints on the gun and an indentation in the wall identified as made by one of her shots turned out to be visible in a photograph taken previously. Aafia’s story is that she peeked around the curtain to see what was happening and was shot. Now had Aafia indeed tried to shoot Americans she would have been more than justified and if she does not harbor hatred for them it is proof of her insanity.

    In a show trial in New York before US district judge Richard M Berman Aafia was convicted of attempting to murder Americans and sentenced to 86 years.
    At the trial the judge accepted that there was no evidence that she was involved with terrorism but in the sentence included a terrorism enhancement. In the trial judge Berman rejected the proposition that Aafia was so insane that she could not assist with her defense but then he sentenced her to be imprisoned FMC Carswell a prison for the criminally insane. All the US personnel who testified gave the same story about the death to America and grabbing of the gun. Normally when a single witness says NOT X and a whole string of witness testify X a jury doing its job will conclude X. There is one case where a jury might choose for the NOT X, that is if there is evidence that the prosecution may have motives to engage in a conspiracy of perjury. Judge Berman prevented Aafia from introducing evidence of where she was for five years as not being relevant but it is very relevant. If you assume that the US had treated Aafia Siddiqui so badly that they could not allow her to tell of it because the damage to the US’s reputation would be worse than that caused by Abu Graib then it makes perfect sense for the US to want to silence her permanently. The original plan was for the Ghazni police to shoot her dead but the police did not cooperate. The backup plan was to rush soldiers and FBI agents to shoot her claiming self defence, maybe the shooter placed his shot poorly and maybe there were some there who were not clued in and prevented more shots to ensure her death. The plan C was to charge Aafia with attempted murder and lock her up for life probably under Special Administrative Measures that prevents anyone who talks to her from relaying anything she says to the outside world.

  2. randyjet, if our reason to attack Iraq was for oil, why don’t we have it? Because that wasn’t the reason. We helped them put out Saddam’s fires in the oil fields and start selling their oil. We didn’t want their land and resources. Similar to the Marshall Plan, helping countries rebuild. Democrats now call this nation building.

    Here we accept what voters say in every election, the loyal opposition doesn’t start fighting. The ME is different. Thousands of years in who knows how many wars. Someone declares victory and the other side starts planning until another war is begun. It seems religion is the most important reason for war there. I don’t understand their minds. People, and especially children, are killed over and over.

    I know several liberals (uber), who are speaking about the anger at the Democrats, mostly Reid, though they know it’s Obama. Many discuss impeachment. Sort of, let’s get it over with, and work to build the party, conceding the next 6 years. One thing that surprises me is their complete disagreement with the war. Many were in Vietnam and they think Obama is turning this into that and taking away from our military. (These were various discussions at holiday parties, they all know my politics.). Progressives and Alinsky fans are not around here. These are mostly FDR and JFK Democrats. No use for Johnson or Carter, would kiss Clinton’s feet. But not Hillary. Just interesting conversation. But, we all know how Republicans can blow a sure thing don’t we?

  3. randyjet:

    “They spit on the recommendations of the US Army for the troop numbers needed for the war”

    Are you unaware that Obama has consistently granted a fraction of the troops requested by his generals?

  4. “I see that slohrss is ignorant of history as well as not being able to understand simple points of rational thinking.”

    Slohrss, I think randyjet is sweet on you. Do they make Hallmark cards for sentiments such as these?

  5. randyjet:

    How is Japan different than Afghanistan? Let me count the ways . . .
    1) Japan unconditionally surrendered, and submitted. Afghanistan fought our efforts, with the Taliban taunting that they would resume business as usual the second we leave.
    2) We banned all military officers from ever holding government office. Extremists are entrenched in Afghan politics.
    3) We broke up large companies of influential people under the old regime. Afghanistan’s opium fields are still funneling boatloads of cash to terrorists.
    4) We removed Japan’s colonies of Taiwan and Korea.
    5) Japan embraced their version of democracy. In Afghanistan, the Taliban et al routinely gives death threats at the voting booths, and blatant corruption is entrenched in all levels of government and infrastructure. Vast sums of our money is unaccounted for in a region infamous for extremism.

    As I have said before, you cannot change a country’s culture from the outside unless they are willing. We can help people strive for democracy, but we can’t impose it if they don’t want it. Otherwise, they just go back to business as usual the second you leave. Japan cooperated because of the atomic bomb. Without that, they would have fought to the last man, woman, and child. I still regret that bomb, however.

    Also, in Japan, the focus was on making Japan self sufficient, with a thriving economy. We can’t even get the Afghanis to stop killing each other, or root out terrorism. They have given every indication that they will resume extremism.

    Do you think that nation building is working in Afghanistan??? Do you find it wise to spend trillions of dollars rebuilding infrastructure that will be used by extremists???

  6. Randyjet, while I agree with your points of what happened during the Bush years–I remember reading those reports daily and wondering what people were thinking–I still have to disagree on the nationbuilding. Japan’s culture was much different, but still an industrial culture.

    Plus, as we have seen with the Middle East, our government is run by special interest, the situation you illustrate above points out why we are actually no longer qualified to participate in nation building. It became a reason to bilk our country. All we have to look at there is Cheney-Halliburton.

    Another question, is it really ethical to take tax money from the American citizen to build other countries? After WWII with the iron curtain falling around the world, it seemed to make a lot of sense. We are not in the same scenario today, so I am not so sure there is an obligation to require the American citizen to provide funds for this.

    Plus, if we want to do some nation building, how about Detroit? Not to broaden the argument here, but a lot of places in Detroit don’t look a whole lot different than the Middle East.

    1. slohrss, I agree with many of your points, but people are much the same the world over. Their resources and education are not, but their needs and wants are. It is entirely possible to rebuild or develop a country if that is the goal. It can and has been done. The reason the US did the Marshall Plan was that the leaders of the US figured out that it was in OUR self interest to do it. The alternative was permanent poverty and a revolution that would have been anti-capitalist.

      The US could have made a peaceful Afghanistan IF that had been the goal Of course, as we all saw in Iraq the main priority was looting the oil of Iraq and trying to cobble together a power base for the central government in Afghanistan.

  7. Obama Was Never Eligible to be President
    According to our Constitution Obama never qualifed as a ‘Natural Born Citizen’ for the office of Presidency
    by Dr. Herbert W. Titus, counsel to the law firm of William J. Olson, P.C.

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