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      Tuesday
      Jul202010

      What Planet Are They On?

      President Obama’s pledge to “begin” withdrawals in July 2011 is rendered virtually meaningless by this weeks’ endorsement of  a 2014 timeline for Afghan troops to take  over their country’s security. By then another 2,000 Americans could be dead and the cost of the war will reach one-trillion dollars.
       
      The 2014 date, announced at a heavily-secured one-day diplomatic conference in Kabul, “is non-binding and essentially unenforceable,” according to the New York Times. The goal is to, “ease pressure on European countries where political support for the war has plummeted and government officials are facing demands for a more clearly-charted path to withdrawal.” It is equally aimed at lulling peace sentiment in America.
       
      Thus far, official Western casualties in Afghanistan are: 1,191 US dead and 6,673 US wounded. Another 757 coalition forces have been killed.
       
      But consider the cost of waiting until 2014.
       
      At an average rate of 40 US killed/month, the American death toll through the end of 2014 would be an additional 2,120, bringing the overall number of Americans dead in Afghanistan to 3,311 by 2014.
       
      The number of Americans wounded, presently a conservative 300 per month, would grow by an additional 16,000 wounded by 2014, to a total of 23,000 since 2001.
       
      The unfunded cost of the Afghanistan war this year alone will be $200 billion, including the supplemental appropriation of $33 billion. At that rate, Afghanistan will be a one-trillion dollar war in direct costs by the end of 2014, not including veteran’s health care and other indirect costs.

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      Reader Comments (1)

      I'm continually interested in the overwhelmingly entrenched self-focus of this country -- to the exclusion of any other information. In describing the impacts of yet another disasterous war - with it's obvious negative implications for future U.S. policy, budget, energy and infrastructure choices -- no one but no one refers to the costs to the people we're bombing, murdering, robbing and starving. How is that possible?

      If we're willing to remember Vietnam as an apt metaphor for viewing the current catastophic failures in Afghanistan, is it at all rational to consider the 3-4 million Vietnamese civillians we slaughtered there? Or should we content ourselves with the memorial of just our own pitiful 58,000 dead?

      Did the millions of gallons of Agent Orange, the massive carpet bombing efforts and horrific weapons of war deployed there negatively impact just our national economy for decades? Or did any of that "cost" in fact also maim, kill and destroy the lives of countless millions and impact farming and water 50+ years into the Vietnamese future?

      Is it possible we have lost the ability to define to ourselves what constitutes genocide? That a myopia of denial has so completely infected anyone in politics, the Pentagon and foreign policy circles? Without question.

      Until we as a collective rise up to painfully witness - and own -- the pitiful and destroying ugliness of our own political class's actions, and our genocidal history as a country, we will remain oblivious to any nominal "cost" other than what we, the imperial destroyers, are "suffering". It's entirely possible we've reached a level of such despicable, blind pathology that to stop ourselves will require the same committment to revolt that the Nazis demanded. Internally and externally.

      July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul van Winkle

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