US continues to pump money into war
Despite the economic crisis, US military spending still stands at a staggering US$ 800 billion, which is almost half the world's total spending on arms.
“Nobody really knows how much money was washed away in Iraq or Afghanistan. We’re talking about US$ 2 billion a week for the past seven years,” says Christian Miller from the Washington-based Propublica.org edition.
Despite this, only a few low-level military people and civilians have been prosecuted. Some investigative reports have suggested the Pentagon has been unable to account for more than US$ 1 trillion in spending during the Iraq war.
With the new American presidential administration in place, the amount of money allocated to the Pentagon is still high. Some say reductions shouldn’t be expected in the near future.
The Pentagon now gets US$ 800 billion a year, which is double just four years ago, Miller says.
Perry O’Brien is an Afghanistan war veteran. He was deployed in 2003 and spent about eight months there. Perry strongly opposes the way the war is being handled by the United States.
“It’s extremely disappointing. Look at Afghanistan – the history of the supposed infrastructure re-building that we have been touting for so many years. So many people in Afghanistan have less running water than they did before we invaded, they have less access to electricity, they have less access to healthcare,” Perry shares his observations.
He is one of the many opponents of investing huge bulks of taxpayers’ dollars into warfare during a time of economic crisis.
“I think, a lot of people are starting to wonder – are there better uses for this money when so many Americans are struggling,” he says.
That’s a view shared by international affairs expert and author Andrew Bacevich from New York.
“The truth is that we are over-committed, over-extended,” he believes. “And we are in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”