Guess how much the U.S. government spends in a year to send just one soldier to Afghanistan? Thanks to hard working number crunchers at the American Friends Service Committee we have some accurate figures. While you are thinking about it ponder the approximate total number of U.S. soldiers there - 78,430 (AFSC's estimate, although I've seen numbers as high as 100,000). That number doesn't include the number of private contractors (can you say "mercenaries"?) that seem to get a rare mention in the newspaper articles.
O.K. folks. Brace yourselves for this nice, large, round number - $1,000,000! That's right; $1 Million!!! That is the 2010 cost to maintain each soldier in Afghanistan. Now, aside from the moral and ethical implications of our colonial incursion into Afghanistan, if I were the CEO of this company, the shareholders would be at my door like the angry villagers in Mel Brooks movie, Young Frankenstein.
This is insane!
According to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) here are just a few positive things our nation could be doing with all that money rather than squandering it on a futile mission (whatever that mission is; can anyone tell me???). Let's do the numbers; $1 Million could provide :
- Renewable energy for 127,964,602 homes
- Health care for 588 children
- Salaries for 17 school teachers
- Head Start for 132 children
- School lunch for 1,602 children
- Health care for 227 adults
- Four-year Pell grants for 48 college students, or
- Affordable homes for 9 families
Perhaps you can think of some other peaceful uses for $1 million. And if those statistics don't shake you up a little, don't forget to multiply that $1 million by at least 78,430!!! Of course I wouldn't dream of cutting back on body armour and all the important things our troops need. I'm talking about supporting them in a different way - BRING EM HOME!!!Despite President Obama's pledge to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011, Pentagon plans are in the works for three $100 million air base expansions in Afghanistan that will ensure that U.S. troops will be entrenched there for years to come.
The House of Representatives has approved the money for these bases, but the Senate still must vote on it. It's time to say STOP!!! No more money for "enduring base" construction. Send your Senators a clear message to reject any such funding.
It is time to stop squandering both our human and financial treasure on senseless wars and start spending it on programs of social uplift, both at home and around the world. Why not start today???
Read Air base expansion plans reflect long-term investment in Afghanistan in the Washington Post.