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Afghanistan War Spending, In 2018 Alone, Could End US Homelessness—TWICE

While the United States government spends $45 billion on the 17th year of the Afghanistan War, it ignores the fact that just half of that money could be used to virtually end homelessness in the U.S. annually.

By Rachel Blevins | Free Thought Project | February 7, 2018

Defense Department officials are claiming that the cost of the United States’ longest war in history will be $45 billion in 2018, which is actually double to estimate of what it would cost to end homelessness in the U.S. annually.

Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said that he expects the Afghanistan war to cost American taxpayers $45 billion this year, which in addition to logistical support, will include about $13 billion for U.S. forces, $5 billion for Afghan forces, and $780 million for economic aid.

Schriver made the announcement during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also spoke, and said he believes the United States’ policy “acknowledges that there isn’t a military solution or a complete solution.”

“I understand it’s America’s longest war, but our security interests in Afghanistan, in the region are significant enough … to back the Afghan government in their struggle against the Taliban,” Sullivan said.

Over 31,000 civilian deaths have been documented in Afghanistan following the U.S. invasion. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting civilian casualties in 2009, and the combined number of civilians who were killed and injured that year was nearly 6,000. The number has steadily increased over the years, and in 2016, it reached a record high with nearly 3,500 killed and nearly 8,000 injured.

report from the UNAMA noted that in 2017, the death rate for children increased by 9 percent over the previous year, and the death rate for women increased by 23 percent. The report also claimed that an increase in airstrikes has led to a 43 percent increase in causalities.

The Hill reported that the Defense Department officials did receive some criticism from senators such as Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, who questioned why the Taliban would want a political settlement now when they already “control more territory than they did since 2001” when the U.S. invaded the country—claiming the purpose was to defeat the Taliban.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, also criticized the massive 2018 budget for the Afghanistan War, and argued that after 16 years, Afghans still “don’t seem to be able to defend themselves,” and for U.S. taxpayers, billions of dollars are “just being thrown down a hatch in Afghanistan.”

“I think there’s an argument to be made that our national security is actually made more perilous the more we spend and the longer we stay there. … We’re in an impossible situation,” Paul said. “I just don’t think there is a military solution.”

Paul has a history of criticizing the amount of money the U.S. government spends in foreign countries, especially on wars in the Middle East. After Trump vowed to continue the longest war in U.S. history in August 2017, Paul criticized the move and asked when the U.S. would start focusing on its own country.

“We spent billions of dollars—I think it’s over $100 billion—building roads in Afghanistan, blowing up roads in Afghanistan, building schools, blowing up schools, and then rebuilding all of them,” Paul said. “Sometimes we blow them up, sometimes someone else blows them up, but we always go back and rebuild them. What about rebuilding our country?”

Paul has a point, and the money that is being used to kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan is desperately needed in the United States. According to estimates from Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, “homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion.”

If the United States government cut its budget for the Afghanistan War in half, and put half of the money towards ending homeless in America, it could make a difference. If the government gave the entirety of the money it is using for endless proxy wars in the Middle East back to the taxpayers it was originally stolen from so that they could invest it in helping the individuals in need in their own communities, it could work wonders.

Rachel Blevins is an independent journalist from Texas, who aspires to break the false left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Steemit and Patreon.

February 8, 2018 - Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Small price to pay to keep the world heroin market flooded with cheap, high quality product. And besides, the big banks need their money laundering fees & the DEA needs to justify its existence.

    Comment by Joel W | February 8, 2018 | Reply

  2. “Defense Department officials are claiming that the cost of the United States’ longest war in history will be $45 billion in 2018”

    How would they know that? The Pentagon is unable to trace Billions(Trillions) of good ol’ American Dollars over the past 10 years(or longer). If these people were running a Corporation, they would be imprisoned for their Total financial Incompetence.
    I would suggest a complete financial audit be conducted as soon as possible, but I fear the World’s Biggest Accounting firms are as Corrupt as the Pentagon is itself.
    USA Inc is a Criminal Organisation, that Al Capone would gasp in astonishment at.

    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | February 8, 2018 | Reply

  3. “We, the people” — (mis)represented by the creatures populating WashDC, including the embedded MSM — are continually propagandized to pay obeisance to our “brave” military people and their trillions-of-dollars of real estate and accoutrements of war all over the globe. In reality, the “defense” complex is a monster out of control fiscally and managerially. As far back as 2001, then-new-SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld (ugh)disclosed, before his ego and the neocons got to him, that there were in the range of 1.2 trillion DoD dollars unaccounted for. Just as the mega-banks were deemed “too big to fail” circa 2007, DoD was in 2001 and remains “too big to audit and bring under responsible adult control” [the latter is my quote]. Can one even begin to imagine, in the wake of the disastrous tragedies that have befallen the lands and peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq et al and the continuing “full-spectrum global dominance” sought by the (mostly Zionst/Israel-first) neocons, what that unaccounted-for $1.2T has swelled to today? In the glare of light of that intensity, $45B, or $20B, is chump change…but even those sums are unaffordable for treating the homeless problem, or rebuilding domestic infrastructure, or tackling wage inequity, or taking compassionate care of our infirm elderly, etc., because we are conditioned not to salute and pay obeisance to those elements of the social fabric.

    Comment by roberthstiver | February 9, 2018 | Reply

    • Alternatively, homelessness can be viewed as having value as a form of discipline keeping the masses in line. Not something to be remedied but rather fostered.

      Comment by aletho | February 9, 2018 | Reply


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