"In early September the treacherous and bloody civil war that is Syria moved front and center for Congress and the Executive branch. I reported to my constituents then that I would not support our military's entree into Syria unless and until it could be positively identified for CERTAIN who did what.
"Since then our president has deftly handled a situation that could have moved us into another war and initiated a constitutional debate. By defusing a Middle Eastern tinderbox and Ali-shuffling politely with Prime Minister Putin, he has turned the fiery Syrian situation into a possible opportunity.
"President Obama stands on second base with a clean double and hopes to find a way to score enough runs to end the Syrian war--and perhaps do more.
"It is to "do more' that I offer these suggestions into Congress' public record and for consideration by our Executive branch.
"Do our tax dollars go where the American people want them to go? Consider this graph."
"We do not yet have the world where one can vote on where one's taxes should go, but how long must we ponder, wonder, and anger over the proportion that we spend on war-related activities.
"Have we become safer by spending more on wars' stuff, while the economies of those countries who avoid war improve their infrastructure, education, patent production, and general well-being? Or have our physical and moral foundations become weaker based on where we mistakenly spend our moral and financial resources?"
"Why is it that the approximately 1/3 of the budget that Congress and the executive branch have discretion over still distributes about 60% of its funds for war-related activities?"
"In 2012, Senate colleague Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked the Department of Defense's leaders, "What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?'
"Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded 'Right now about $850,000 per soldier.'
"Depending on whom you ask that number is between $850,000 to $1.4 million, the larger numbering being what the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments lists as the cost.
"It is difficult to lay that cost inflation upon our courageous volunteer soldiers, since the typical army sergeant with four years of service makes a base pay of less than 30,000 a year.
"Someone, however, is making money. Perhaps our largest defense contractors? Here's a peek to see if that's true:"