On October 27, 2011 I published the following post. I’m no foreign policy expert or even wonk, but I am devastated by the disastrous unraveling of order – the chaos that is Afghanistan as the United States leaves a country it first sent troops to in October, 2001.
Answer: 300 Million Dollars a Day
Question: How much does the United States spend on the War in Afghanistan?
Sigh. If only I’d been watching Jeopardy instead of 60 Minutes last night. If only The Good Wife hadn’t moved to Sunday nights for the new fall season in 2011. If only the football game on CBS had ended on time so I wouldn’t have gotten started watching 60 Minutes because I wanted to know when The Good Wife would actually be coming on later. If only I’d remembered my New Year’s Resolution to avoid TV news shows at all costs.
But no, I wasn’t watching Jeopardy. Instead, I got hooked on a segment of the 60 Minutes Sunday evening news program commemorating the anniversary of the ten-year War in Afghanistan and an interview with the two men responsible for its, ahem, conclusion. As if.
So the interview goes by swimmingly with numbers rolling off the tongues of men who look stern and tired and unhappy to be where they are, including the interviewer. Number of American lives lost so far? 1,800. One thousand eight hundred men and women no longer with us or their families and friends. 1,800. Gone. Immense, immeasurable, staggering loss.
Number of dollars spent so far? Half a trillion. I don’t even know how many zeroes to put in half a trillion. I’ll call it a gazillion and I’ll break it down into smaller numbers so we can all relate to it. Let’s see. That would be about two billion dollars a week or 300 million dollars a day. Oh, okay. That’s easier to understand. If we put this in Powerball lottery terms, we’re spending 20 Powerball lotteries of 15 million dollars each on a daily basis in a country that hates us on a war that will never be over and wonder why we have an uncontrollable federal deficit. Seriously. As my daddy used to say, the inmates are running the asylum.
Oh, and the two men responsible for bringing this war to a successful conclusion? The same team that helped to end the insurgency in Iraq. I kid you not.
I will not watch TV news shows. I will not watch TV news shows. I will not watch TV news shows. Maybe if I don’t watch them, the news will vanish Without a Trace, which is what I prefer to watch along with The Good Wife.
Screen shot today of US stats – not including the costs by NATO allies, most especially Germany and the UK, Canadian involvement until 2013, and the immeasurable loss of lives and property by the civilian population of Afghanistan in the past 20 years.
And guess what? We made a pact with the Devil who has regained control of a country he never left…and never will.
I remember another 20 year war from 1955 – 1975 in a faraway place known as Vietnam. I know, I know. No comparison, says Secretary of State Blinken. But I vaguely remember helicopters landing and taking off from rooftops to rescue people then like the images I saw today in Kabul. God help the women and children of Afghanistan.
I will not watch TV news shows. I will not watch TV news shows. I will not watch TV news shows. Somebody stop me.
Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated please and stay tuned.