Capitalists continually lecture the world on the efficiency of markets; their mantra is always "value for money." Let us examine the so called war on terror using the value for money principle. The direct visible cost of the Afghan war so far is $370 billion. Yet the US and British governments tell their citizens that the threat of terrorism is real, and growing.
The Iraq war is even more horrendous; here is a country having had no links to al-Qaeda that was attacked and destroyed. Putting the human cost aside, the visible dollar cost of that war is $744 billion. This war invigorated al-Qaeda, and brought it to Iraq where it never before existed. Joseph Stieglitz and Linda Bilmes predict that the real cost of the war in Iraq alone, when the long term care and rehabilitation of the injured and other costs are taken into account, will exceed $3 trillion.
The other outcome, not predicted by those planners of the war, is that it has strengthened the influence of Iran in the region -- an outcome the US apparently does not like. Meanwhile, America has now expanded the war into Pakistan with drone attacks and Special Forces working in the country. Civilian casualties are mounting and naturally causing anger and dismay among the people, with the government of Pakistan becoming increasingly unstable. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is causing the US and Britain anxiety, and the fear that terrorists may acquire a bomb or enough enriched uranium to assemble a dirty bomb. It is likely that the continuation of the US military action in Pakistan increases that possibility, but they carry on nevertheless. They do not seem to have heard the adage, "if you are in a hole stop digging."
The US military aid to Pakistan since 2002 to support the war against the Taliban amounts to $7.2 billion, with many people questioning how that money was spent with a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper asserting that "No amount of money of US aid will stop Pakistan supporting militants."
Here we have direct visible expenditure of $1.12 trillion. Has it made the US safer from terrorism? On the contrary, many experts argue that it has invigorated terrorism and made the US less safe.
It is odd that the value for money principle is rigorously applied when it comes to education, health, welfare for the homeless, the unemployed and the sick, but when it comes to endless wars, that principle is thrown out of the window. Why?
How many people get up in the morning and say, "Oh, my God, this may be my last day because I could become a victim of terrorism"? Even with aircraft terrorism, which most frightens people, the odds of being a victim are 1 in 10.4 million.
You would think the American people would be mad as hell with those politicians who have caused so much carnage and wasted so many of their tax dollars in the process. However, on the contrary, it seems the extreme right as represented by the tea party and their darling Sarah Palin, who want even more wars, are the ones gaining popularity.
That giant stung by the wasp is still thrashing around and may hit his head so badly that his recovery will be uncertain if he does not come to his senses in time.