Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Tale of Two Daughters

Laurie and I have been disagreeing regarding the costs, benefits and morality of the Iraq and Afganistan wars.  G2A War: What Is It Good For?  Laurie's statements were:
"We are not responsible for every problem in the world and if we wanted to spend $6 trillion for humanitarian purposes it could have done much more good spent in other ways.

In hind sight, do you seriously think the war in Iraq was the right decision when you look at the cost in dollars and lives? Maybe you support it because you voted for Bush. I knew it was a mistake at the time and joined several anti war demonstrations.
By my rough calculation your share of the $6 trillion is $20,000 or $100,000 on behalf of your family. Do you feel getting rid of Saddam was worth this to you? It seems like the type of raid that killed Bin Laden could have been carried out without a 10 year war in Afghanistan."
The issue I have with this is that from these comments as compared to her typically progressive comments, it seems to me that she thinks the life of a little girl in the USA is worth so very much more than the life of a little girl in Afganistan.  Which I definitely have to disagree with.

From my view, the most needy little girls in the USA get food, medical care, public education, shelter, freedom to speak out, freedom to lobby for more public assistance, protection from abusive people and now even cell phones. 

Yet the Liberals continue to demand that this is "not enough", that more tax dollars need to be spent on the safety nets and dependency programs.  And that the rich were "lucky" and that their personal property should be taken via taxes and redistributed to the unfortunate.

Whereas the most fortunate little girls in Afganistan under Taliban rule could not go to school, speak out or strive to improve themselves.  And often they were subjected to forced marriages or worse, including Sharia law. (Video) (Treatment of Women)

And what do the Liberals have to say about America's efforts to help these little girls.  They say it cost too much, it was war mongering, a stupid expenditure and that people like me only support it because it happened under Bush...  Really???

Personally I think it was nice of the Taliban to go to such extremes as giving Al Qaeda refuge in Afganistan.  Then helping them to train terrorists...  How much better does it get?  They gave the USA justification to invade and help those little girls to have a chance at a better life.  School Video 1    School Video 2

Now I agree that we can't save everyone, yet I still think we should help when we can, and especially when we can eliminate a threat to our nation at the same time.  I also find it ironic that the same people that think the fortunate Americans should be forced to share their wealth with the unfortunate American's, think that a fortunate America sharing it's wealth with the terribly terribly unfortunate people in Afganistan is wasteful and stupid...  Peace loving liberals still seem terribly inconsistent to me.

The reality is that our investment in Afganistan may fail.  Yet we have given the people of Afganistan a chance that they would not have had without our military and financial involvement. Keep your fingers crossed that they can hold it together this time.  Thoughts?


Laurie said...

War seems to be a poor choice to me for humanitarian aid.

U.S. strikes killed 140 villagers: Afghan probe

Record Number of Afghan Civilians Died in 2011, Mostly in Insurgent Attacks, U.N. Says

Just to review, Cost of 2 wars:

More than 1,000,000 killed and

Cost to end world hunger: $143 Billion

How much to end world hunger?

Cost in dollars and lives to eliminate dictators in Egypt, Libya, Tunesia - very little

John said...

The downside to war is that there are casualties...

Often effective humanitarian aid is not possible without war...

Do you really think that humanitarian aid would have gotten to the people that needed it in either Afganistan or Iraq without the US military first effecting regime change, and later providing security and stabilization efforts?

After looking at the cost of war links, I am still having a hard time confirming that their numbers are the "additional cost" of the wars. I mean most of the full time military personnel would have been stationed somewhere conducting military exercises for the last 10 years whether the wars were occurring or not.. And most of them would have also had a pension and VA benefits.

Though it is true that the reserves and national guard troops would not have been used "full time" overseas like they were.

I also found it interesting that the cost of war site put the "USAID" monies into their cost. I think they would probably add in the kitchen sink if they could.
Harvard Crimson Cost of War
Rueters Cost of War
Cost of War Org

John said...

Now for my pragmatic cold hearted self serving benefit. The other advantage of fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Saddam there is that we were not fighting them here...

In my opinion, the wars pretty well kept most of the extremists very busy on foreign soil. Also, it gave the USA permission and access to kill many combatants that may have easily escaped otherwise.

If we assumed that the foreign wars prevented 2 additional high casualty attacks from occurring on our soil, let's say saving 4,000 American lives. Would that make the expenditure a better investment and less stupid?


Anonymous said...

I'm firmly with Laurie on this. Iraq in particular was an entirely optional war. Afghanistan is frustrating and seems to be unwinnable. Did you happen to see Charlie Wilson's War? It's a very good film, and a look back at how long we've been engaged in Afghanistan, funding and fighting various factions over time.

Also consider, if you want to add up the hypothetical protection of American lives from hypothetically averted attacks, you should factor in the actual loss of American lives in combat, as well as the casualties living with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. We will be paying for that war for decades to come in physical and mental health care for the veterans.

Our military spending is jaw-dropping, and in my opinion, inexcusable.If you don't trust Laurie's links, here's another:


John said...

First, we have a volunteer military. They know and accept the risks as part of the job. I am truly sorry for their deaths and injuries, however their sacrifice has a lot less impact on America's state of mind than a terrorist attack that occurs within the American homeland. Sad but true.

I don't know if I trust the Harvard data or not. I just have not found enough details to understand it.

WP USA Military Spending History
Wiki Military Spending By Country

As for the American military budget being huge, I have been told that a great deal of it is mandatory. (ie existing pensions, benefits, etc) Also, with great power comes great responsibility. It would be interesting to see what would happen in the world if the USA pulled their troops home and stopped being the international police force...

Let's test it on the Korean penisula. There are 30,000+ American personnel stationed in South Korea and more in Japan and on Guam. Would you support furloughing them all and bringing them home right now?

John said...

FOXNews Spending Analysis
AEI Analysis
About Analysis

John said...

CATO Cuts will NOT make USA Less Safe
Heritage Cuts WILL make USA Less Safe