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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/24/17

Why Does Donald Trump Insist on More Military Spending?

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From Smirking Chimp

co-written by Kate Harveston

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
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If you think we spend too much on our military as it is (more that the next eight countries combined), you might be shocked to hear President Trump has asked for an increase in military spending by 10%, or $54 billion. Where is all this money going to come from? What will it be used for? Since Republicans are not known for wanting to raise taxes, the money has to come from cuts to other allocations in the budget.

On the chopping block are funds that would go to the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal programs -- agencies that serve the needs of the American public.

If Donald Trump really wants to take an "America First" approach, why is he slashing our domestic budget and putting money into a war machine that only continues to inflame tensions around the world? We engage in wars that never seem to end, tax dollars are squandered, innocent lives are lost in the process and these military interventions are certainly not making us more safe at home.

We are involved in military operations all over the world. Many of these conflicts are not easily summarized, but let's take a look at some of America's conflicts and where they stand, through the prism of this proposed military spending increase.

Iraq

What did we get out of invading Iraq? Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. For that, we lost almost 4,500 American lives, and over 30,000 were wounded. We don't keep track of the Iraqis we killed, but here are the estimates.

Major combat operations ended in 2011, but our service members still get killed there and for the Iraqi people, the war rages on. Under Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, sectarian violence was minimized. When we removed him it exploded, and the unintended consequence is that we unleashed sectarian violence.

Another unanticipated result of our invasion of Iraq was the creation of ISIS. It was at the US prison in Iraq called Camp Bucca where embittered Sunni prisoners, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, created ISIS. Now we are spending billions trying to defeat the very force we helped to create.

Afghanistan

We invaded in late 2001 and are still there. It is America's longest war, and there is no end in sight. We removed the Taliban government, eventually killed Osama bin Laden -- found in "allied" Pakistan -- and set up a government that is at least officially friendly toward us, but there is now a resurgence of the Taliban.

For that, we lost 2,300 service members with about 17,600 wounded. It is not uncommon for our service members to be killed by Afghan soldiers who are supposed to be working with us. Again, this is all paid for by the United States taxpayer. And the bill is about the shoot up even more, with the Trump administration sending another 4,000 troops to join in this endless war.

Syria

Syria has been reduced to ruins by not only us, but also by Russia, ISIS, the Syrian government and other warring factions within and without. The Trump administration's recent cruise missile attack on the Assad regime forces, followed by the U.S. shooting of a Syrian fighter jet and Iranian drones, puts the U.S. military at even greater risk of direct confrontation not only with Assad but Iran and Russia. The number of Syrians killed, wounded and forced to flee their homes is astronomical, while the idea of a political solution seems more and more remote.

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Medea Benjamin Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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