Sept. 21 is the International Day of Peace, established by unanimous consent of the United Nations. But on this day of peace we, the United States, are still promoting and waging war around the world at an unsupportable rate. It’s a good time to take stock of what our forever wars have cost us. Adjusted for inflation, our military budget is now larger than it was during World War II. We currently pay about $7 million every hour in direct military costs. The direct result of that military bleed is insufficient funding to replace crumbling infrastructure, repair flooded cities and prepare for pandemics. Over the last 20 years we have spent $21 trillion waging wars around the world, resulting in 7,052 U.S. military, 8,189 contractors, roughly 300,000 militants, and 400,000 civilian deaths.
Delivering American style democracy via Hellfire missile doesn’t work. Spending $2.3 trillion to kill 53,000 Afghan militants and 46,000 Afghan civilians failed to impose Western-style democracy to Afghanistan. Color me surprised that our return on military investment is so dismal. War is expensive, inefficient and seldom produces the desired outcome. We could instead provide COVID vaccines for most of the world for less than $50 billion and have much greater success in spreading democracy. It’s time to stop bombing and start helping the world.
President of Veterans For Peace, Chapter 100