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Iraq and Afghanistan: black holes swallowing the wealth of America

By       Message michael payne     Permalink
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That giant sucking sound you hear? It's the hundreds of billions of dollars disappearing into the massive black holes otherwise known as Iraq and Afghanistan. While this nation is caught up in a massive economic crisis, we watch as billions upon billions of dollars are used to fuel more wars.

A black hole is an area in space with such a powerful gravitational pull that no matter or energy in space can escape its pull; a place into which objects disappear and are not expected to be seen again. Likewise these billions of dollars will be swallowed up by these two wars, never to be seen again.

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Let's talk about return on investment and, specifically, what would bring the greatest return for our taxpayer dollars. First, we can continue to invest them in military actions and watch as those dollars go up in flames in endless war. Nothing of value is produced and, therefore, that represents a very poor investment. In fact, it produces a highly negative investment as the wars and occupation result in the recruitment of thousands more new enemies that join the insurgent cause.

Invest them in America and they would be the basis for massive improvements in our education system, they could fund universal health care for all Americans, they could be used to rebuild America's collapsing infrastructure. And, most importantly, those dollars could be invested in a green economy that would help to cure our addiction to fossil fuels by developing any number of alternative sources of energy; solar panels, windmills, and various alternate fuels. This would restore the U.S. economic foundation and bring our crisis to an end; a most excellent return on investment.

This nation is literally destroying itself with its obsession for more and more war. Just consider this one overriding fact. Our entire military empire, 750 military installations in 63 countries around the globe, together with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veteran's benefits and interest on the associated debt, total about 1 trillion dollars annually. How long can this nation continue to spend this staggering amount of money every year before a fiscal collapse occurs? There is absolutely no way that this disastrous trend can be sustained.

I am quite aware that there many in America would say that to use these funds in America and not in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan would bring danger to our nation as Al-Qaeda would be free to attack us again. To that I would simply state the facts; that Al-Qaeda is quartered all over the world, in many countries and regions, including Europe. They plotted the 9/11 attacks largely in Germany and Madrid, Spain. They are now free to plan new attacks from various parts of the world and they are benefiting tremendously from the new recruits that our actions are promoting every day. So that old argument no longer holds any water.

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This nation could significantly reduce the number of military installations in the world without endangering our safety. We have more than 65,000 military personnel still stationed in Europe, with many thousands more in Korea, Japan, Guam, the Philippines and other nations. Our military budget is about equal to that of all the other nations of the world combined. In the coming years we will be forced to scale back this presence in the world because of our economic problems; and when we do we will still retain a very powerful military to protect us.

This entire Afghanistan/Pakistan war is almost a complete replay of all the mistakes that our political and military leaders made in Vietnam. In the totally unnecessary, misguided war in Vietnam, successive U.S. presidents and the military decided that immense, relentless firepower would bring the people of that nation to its knees. They could not have more wrong in their assessment. When the U.S. brought this massive firepower down upon the nation of Vietnam and its people, the blowback was deadly and unrelenting.

That relatively small nation of Vietnam did what the people of America would do if they were invaded by a foreign power. Its population rose up and refused to be trampled by an invading power and so would we. They used the energy and determination of their entire population to remain a sovereign nation to expel the massive forces of the U.S. and take back control of their country.

That same scenario is being repeated as our leaders use the same faulted strategy to conduct military operations in Afghanistan. Once again our military is using massive firepower to try to pacify the people of a sovereign nation. And that faulted strategy is simply not working as the people of that nation refuse to accept the domination of a foreign invader. This has been tried many times in history by nations that attempted to expand their empires and the invaders have been expelled each and every time.

President Obama and our military leaders are standing at the brink of a potential disaster waging a war against the nation of Afghanistan that has never been conquered by any military force. Will they ignore the lessons of history, escalate the war in Afghanistan to new heights, and risk taking America into a massive quagmire that could bring this nation to the brink of national insolvency and bankruptcy?

The future of America is entirely dependent on this choice; we can continue spending on never-ending foreign wars until we eventually bankrupt America. Or, spend on education, infrastructure, and developing a vibrant green economy to put America on a path of prosperity with our workers once again becoming the foundation of our economy.

America stands at a critical crossroads and our leaders have a clear choice. Will they let the massive costs of our military empire destroy our fiscal stability? Or will they finally come to the realization that we need to significantly scale back our global military presence to prevent a national collapse?

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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