"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:"
"Various estimates put the cost of the Vietnam War at $500 + billion. Incidental costs included agent orange-defoliated Vietnam, with millions of dead Vietnamese and agent-orange-exposed American soldiers returning to live their lives on crutches and wheelchairs, something many limb-lost Vietnamese could not afford.
"In the 1990s and 2000s, the military-industrial estate and increasingly concentrated media pushed Americans to believe that we had to stay involved in the world via armadas, tanks, and planes inflicting blood, pain, and gore. That kind of involvement required even more petrol. Therefore, we shuffled the card deck of dictators who controlled the oil and/or the pipelines over which it flowed to keep 19th- and 20th-century warfare as the world's biggest show.