Prolonging the War is a “Threat to Our National Security”

Congressman Kucinich said today:

America is in the fight of its life and that fight is not in Afghanistan — it’s here … We are deeply in debt. Our GDP is down. Our manufacturing is down. Our savings are down. The value of the dollar is down. Our trade deficit is up. Business failures are up. Bankruptcies are up.

The war is a threat to our national security. We’ll spend over $100 billion next year to bomb a nation of poor people while we reenergize the Taliban, destabilize Pakistan, deplete our army and put more of our soldiers’ lives on the line. Meanwhile, back here in the USA, 15 million people are out of work. People are losing their jobs, their health care, their savings, their investments, and their retirement security. $13 trillion in bailouts for Wall Street, trillions for war; when are we going to start taking care of things here at home?

Is he right?

Well, the director of U.S. national intelligence, retired Admiral Dennis Blair, said in February that the economic crisis was the biggest national security threat to the United States. See this and this.

And – contrary to common beliefs – economists say that prolonged wars increase unemployment, shrink the economy, and cause rather than solve recessions. See this, this and this. And to those who say that deficits don’t matter, please read this.

As ABC notes:

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded there are only about 100 al Qaeda fighters in the entire country…

With 100,000 troops in Afghanistan at an estimated yearly cost of $30 billion, it means that for every one al Qaeda fighter, the U.S. will commit 1,000 troops and $300 million a year.

And TalkingPointsMemo reported yesterday that – in addition to the troops – the US now has more than 104,000 defense contractors in the country. So that drives up the cost per al Qaeda fighter even higher.

Moreover, a leading advisor to the U.S. military – the very hawkish Rand Corporation – released a study in 2008 called “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida“. The report confirms what experts have been saying for years: the war on terror is actually weakening national security.

As a press release about the study states:

“Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”

As one blogger commented in response to a previous essay:

If we continue to react as we did after 9-11 then al Qaeda will win. This primarily being a financial site, everyone here should understand ROI [return on investment]. They invested less than a million and made us spend 1 trillion+. They could pass the collection plate around at the average mosque in Pakistan and bankrupt us with 1 more operation. Even if you are not convinced that we are creating more extremists than we are killing, we simply cannot afford to “win the war on terrorism”. Fighting fire with fire just makes things burn faster…

Keep in mind as well that most empires that have been defeated were not annihilated on the battlefield, but rather in the bank account.

Kucinich is right.

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