The cost of war - An economic lesson for Romney and Santorum
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The cost of war - An economic lesson for Romney and Santorum

Plainfield : NH : USA | Mar 07, 2012 at 6:20 PM PST
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Shields, Brooks Look to South Carolina Vote as NH Primary Numbers Roll in

Another Primary day has come and gone, Super Tuesday to be exact, and the two leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, have decided to turn their gaze towards toppling President Obama by rattling their sabers and endorsing another war in Iran. It’s interesting to watch all but one Republican candidate, Ron Paul, wax rhapsodic about a new war, in Iran this time, as if the costs of our previous adventures in war since 2001 have not been exorbitantly expensive. How is it possible for the group that continues to adamantly declare, over and over again, that government is too big and must be reduced also be woefully unaware of the actual costs of waging wars?

Mitt Romney, the current front-runner of the Republican quest for the presidency, has declared Obama’s non-action against Iran as “Obama’s biggest failure” and his triumph would be to direct a preemptive strike to stop Iran‘s surge for nuclear weapons. Romney’s stance is sophomoric: “If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if Mitt Romney is elected, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.” The question becomes, exactly how would President Romney prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons? “The biggest risk for Romney as president is that, like George W. Bush, he would try to prove his toughness by launching a war. This specific statement from Romney seems to imply that if elected, he would surely start his presidency with a pre-emptive strike against Iran, despite the debilitating economic costs that such a war demands. Couple the economic costs of war with the fact that most Americans want our troops at home, safe and sound, and not fighting in endless wars, it would seem that both Romney and Santorum are very out of touch with the desires of American voters.

Rick Santorum, also an avid saber rattler, is intent on protecting Israel’s interests: “Obama hasn’t done enough to support Israel. When (sic) Israel does attack Iran, the U.S. should ensure it is a successful strike…” Santorum believes that once he is elected president, it would be his duty to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. The “GOP hopeful criticized Barack Obama for being too soft on Iran and said he would bomb the country’s nuclear sites.” It is too soon to determine if this rhetoric of war is part of Santorum’s platform, or if he too is woefully unaware of the costs of war.

The war in Iraq began in 2003 and U.S. military troops, except those in advisory positions, were withdrawn in December 2011. The estimated cost of the War in Iraq up to 2010 was approximately $823.2 billlion. The cost of the War in Iraq for 2011 is approximately an additional $49.3 billion. These costs do not include the incidental costs the U.S. undertook when it decided to reconstruct Iraq after the destruction of the war, a cost that will never be recouped or compensated to the U.S. by an exchange of oil. These costs do not include the costs for current “aid” programs that continue in Iraq. From 2003 to 2007 there was an allocation of $300 billion to build a facility for Iraqi policemen, a facility that included a swimming pool that was never constructed. DynCorp, a Virginia based private contractor, was paid $1.2 billion to train Iraqi police officers. After a Senate investigation, the contractor could not account for the $1.2 billion, paid, and Iraqi civilians/officers were never trained. The mystery of these missing funds continues.

Since the beginning of our War on Terror, our government has invested well over $3.7 trillion dollars, and the amount continues to escalate daily. Private contractors have become exorbitantly wealthy while our government continues to dole out funds. The War on Terror has been and is a very lucrative business for private contractors with government connections, unless of course, you are the American taxpayer. The average cost to continue to fight the War Against Terror in Afghanistan today, is currently higher than the 2003 high cost to fight the War in Iraq. The economic costs of these wars are staggering and there is no real relief or end in sight. Of course, the very nature of fighting a War on Terror is ludicrous when one considers the very nature of terrorism. Our War on Terror is based on ferreting out unknown Bogeymen here and abroad. It is almost unbelievable that the two front-running "conservatives" for the Republican Party believe that the U.S. must invade Iran to stop it from making nuclear weapons. In the future, when their respective Super PAC donors are revealed, maybe then American voters will learn and understand that well-funded private contractors were driving the rhetoric and need for our country to engage in another war.

Perhaps the only thing, we voters can do is to attempt to understand the subtext of the dialogue spoken by the men who would hope to be president. Are we so wedded to fear that we would readily endorse another war? Can we continue to support the War on Terror and continue to agree to the ramped-up assaults against our freedoms? Do we really want our economy further burdened by the cost of another war? Exactly why do we support candidates who state they want to limit government and reduce spending, yet are aching to start another war? The candidate’s cards are on the table and it is up to us, the voters, to change the game.

SOURCES:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/republican-debate-mitt-romney_b_1091215.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204224604577027921373481512.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Darticle

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/rick-santorum-iran-policy-6562724

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/01/01/rick_santorum_would_bomb_iran_nuclear_sites_calls_obama_paper_tiger_.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/dec/15/war-iraq-costs-us-lives

http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/10/news/economy/costofwar.fortune/index.htm

http://costofwar.com/en/

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-05-12-afghan_N.htm

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-usa-war-idUSTRE75S25320110629

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at his "Super Tuesday" primary election night rally in Boston
Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at his "Super Tuesday" primary election night rally in Boston
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