The Olympic Games are all the buzz here in Seattle. It was pretty cool to watch the opening ceremony last night and realize that it is just about 100 miles north of my home. We seem to have forgotten, however, that the Olympic Games were originally intended to foster world peace.
It is ironic that today the Marines started a D-Day inspired mission in Afghanistan. Two very dear friends have sons who were recently deployed. My nephew was one of the first Marines in Afghanistan. He came home with horrendous PTSD. Soldiers who experienced abuse as children are more likely to develop Complex PTSD.
It got me to thinking about the costs of war. It got me to thinking that most people who have experienced domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual abuse knew all about terrorism before 9/11. The difference is we know the names and faces of our terrorists. They aren’t strangers in a foreign country who want us dead. They are often people with whom we share a bed.
Almost $1 Trillion Spent on the War
I’m still ticked off that the U.S. government intends to invest $317.39 to protect each victim of domestic violence in 2010. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense plans to spend $130 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My calculator can’t compute numbers that big. So, I did a little surfing. The Washington Post reported in 2007 that the war was costing $720 million/day or $500,000/minute.
In other words, we spend as much on the war in one day as we’ll spend on domestic violence for a whole year. The 2010 budget proposes $730 million to protect and serve 2.3 million people who will likely experience domestic violence. . .which is essentially domestic terrorism. Three women are murdered every day. They needed protection from a terrorist, but they didn’t get it. $317.39 doesn’t buy much protection.
Nobody cares what these terrorists do behind closed doors until they go on a shooting spree like DC Sniper John Allen Muhammad or Maurice Clemmons, who assasinated four cops in Lakewood, WA.
I have a strong hunch that if we flipped those numbers and spent $130 billion on preventing domestic violence for a year that we’d probably have peace on earth in about a month.
And, I cannot fathom why the folks in Washington, D.C. don’t look to the costs of war as the primary reason our economy is in the sewer looking up at the toilet. We could fund a lot of help for folks living on Main Street with $130 billion.
Why Did We Go to War Anyway?
I was a little shocked last night to realize we’ve been at war almost a decade. I’ve often thought that the war was more about Dick Cheney’s pension from Halliburton than terrorism. Deborah White did an analysis on her blog about the costs of war. She claims:
Halliburton overcharges classified by the Pentagon as unreasonable and unsupported: $1.4 billion.
Amount paid to KBR, a former Hallliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing, etc.: $20 billion.
Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem “questionable or supportable”: $3.2 billion.
We could fund an awful lot of economic stimulus if we just got this money back from Halliburton. But, I doubt that will happen any time soon.
If you are curious how taxpayers’ money could be spent more prudently, you might want to check out The National Priorities Project. It is a little mind boggling to see the cost of war counter spin.