This is the cost of Overseas Contingency Operations* (OCO) over 16 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office . $1,945 billion, the number is so large it is hard to fathom. Let's try. It is equal to 10% of the American public debt, about equal to Italy's gross domestic product, and nearly twice the world's military expenditures (excluding the United States). The OCOs were undertaken under the "full spectrum dominance" doctrine implemented by the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. What do they have to show for, after 16 years of endless wars?
In Afghanistan, the objective is to avoid defeat. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad, with the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, is about to win the war unless the United States intervenes and confronts Russia directly -- a conceivable option considering Secretary of Defense John Mattis's Russophobia, a four star general better known as Mad Dog Mattis in the ranks. In Ukraine, the United States may claim half a victory. Crimea has seceded. In North Korea, Kim Jong Un is unlikely to bow to pressure and give up his weapons of mass destruction. He knows what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muhammad Gaddafi.
As if this was not enough, these operations are counterproductive and illegal for some. The world is more unstable today than it was 16 years ago. The human cost is appalling. The number of displaced, migrants, wounded and deaths count in the millions. The main beneficiary of this savagery is the military-industrial complex.
In view of this disastrous and shameful result, one would think that Congress would follow Senator Rand Paul's call for a repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act -- an Act voted three days after the 9/11 attacks, and used by George W. Bush to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, even though it did not give him that authority. Rand Paul's amendment was repealed by a vote of 61 to 36. Something has gone terribly wrong in Washington DC.
The "full spectrum dominance" doctrine is a failure. It was devised by psychopaths who need to be put away before they cause irremediable damage.
*Wars conducted in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Levant.