Prisoners Of War: The Facts

We are squandering $12 billion a month on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Congressional Research Service pegs spending by the United States on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at $12.3 billion a month. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz says that figure is actually much higher, $16 billion a month, when you take into account hidden costs such as future spending on military veterans, fuel and military equipment costs.
(Amy Belasco. The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11. Congressional Research Service, July 14, 2008.)
(Travis Sharp. “U.S. Spending On Iraq and Afghanistan by Month, Week, Day, Hour, Minute, & Second (based on adjusted Department of Defense FY 2007 obligations).” The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. February 25, 2008.)
(Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz. “The Iraq War Will Cost US $3 Trillion, and Much More.” Washington Post. March 9, 2008.)

The Iraq War may end up costing nearly $3 trillion.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz estimates that the United States will spend $3 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; his estimate takes into account hidden costs such as future spending on military veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fuel and military equipment costs, etc.
(Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz. “The Iraq War Will Cost US $3 Trillion, and Much More.” Washington Post. March 9, 2008.)

More troops are being dispatched to Afghanistan.

President Bush promised to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan by the end of the year. He stated, “We’re going to increase troops by 2009,” but offered no details.
(Josh White.”A Shortage of Troops in Afghanistan.” Washington Post. July 3, 2008.)

Our military budget — $700 billion last year — is about equal to that of the rest of the world combined.

The United States military budget was set at $502.2 billion for fiscal year 2008; an additional $189.3 billion is being spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; bringing the total budget to $691.5 billion for fiscal year 2008.
(Christopher Hellman. “The FY’08 Pentagon ‘Top-Line’ Request: Table 1: Top-Line Requests (budget authority in $billions).” The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. 5 February 2007.)
(Amy Belasco. The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11. Congressional Research Service. July 14, 2008. Pg.13. Footnote 22)

Both major presidential candidates call for expanding the military, saluting Bush’s “Long War” on terror.

John McCain believes, “The most important weapons in the U.S. arsenal are the men and women of American armed forces. John McCain believes we must enlarge the size of our armed forces to meet new challenges to our security.”

Barack Obama also believes in building a 21st Century Military by an “increase of the Army by 65,000 troops and the Marines by 27,000 troops.”
( “National Security: A Strong Military in a Dangerous World; Increasing the Size of the American Military.” 2008.)
( “A 21st Century Military for America.” 2008. )

We are the mightiest power the world has ever seen, but we are no longer masters of our own fate.

Growing global indebtedness. The Nation’s international deficit in goods and services increased to $62.2 billion in July 2008. It had increased by $3.4 billion in just one month.
(The United States Census Bureau. “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Highlights: Goods and Services Deficit Increases in July 2008.” Foreign Trade Division/Statistics. September 11, 2008.)

A deepening addiction to foreign oil. Since January 1981, U.S. oil imports have increased 89 percent. Furthermore, only 3 percent of the world oil reserves are located in the United States, but the U.S. consumes more than 25 percent of the world’s petroleum products.
(Mark Cooper. Ending America’s Oil Addiction: A Quarterly Report on Consumption, Prices, and Imports, First Quarter, 2008. Consumer Federation of America. April 2008.)
(Energy Information Administration. U.S. Crude Oil and Petroleum Products Imports from All Countries (Thousand Barrels). August 26, 2008.)

The economic rise of India and China. From 1997 and 2007, the GDP-real growth rate of India and China has increased 84% and 30%, respectively; the United States GDP-real growth rate has declined 42% during the same time period.

(Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook 1997.)

(Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook 2008.)

Proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As of 31 December 2006, the ITDB contained 1080 confirmed incidents reported by the participating States. Of the 1080 confirmed incidents, 275 incidents involved unauthorized possession and related criminal activity, 332 incidents involved theft or loss of nuclear or other radioactive materials, 398 incidents involved other unauthorized activities, and in 75 incidents the reported information was not sufficient to determine the category of incident. Information reported to the ITDB shows a persistent problem with the illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials, thefts, losses and other unauthorized activities.

(International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB). 11 September 2007.)

Catastrophic climate change and resource struggles are far more destabilizing than Islamic extremists.

In a report commissioned by the Pentagon, Peter Schwartz, formerly headed planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network, noted that today several regions of the world “experience 30 percent more days with peak temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit than they did a century ago,” plus an increase in floods or prolonged droughts. The report warned that “military confrontation may be triggered by a desperate need for natural resources such as energy, food and water rather than by conflicts over ideology, religion, or national honor. The shifting motivation for confrontation would alter which countries are most vulnerable and the existing warning signs for security threats.”

(David Stipp. “The Pentagon’s Weather Nightmare: The Climate Could Change Radically, and Fast. That Would be the Mother of All National Security Issues.” Fortune Magazine. 9 February 2004.)
(Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall. An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security. October 2003.)

Our liberties are trampled by our own leaders fanning a climate of fear and secrecy.

David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor, stated the impact of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” on basic constitutional freedoms: “Privacy has given way to Internet tracking and plans to recruit a corps of 11 million private snoopers. Political freedom has been trumped by the effort to stem funding for terrorists. Physical liberty and habeas corpus survive only until the President decides someone is a ‘bad guy.’ Property is seized without notice, without a hearing and on the basis of secret evidence. Equal protection has fallen prey to ethnic profiling. Conversations with a lawyer may be monitored without a warrant or denied altogether when the military finds them inconvenient. And the right to a public hearing upon arrest exists only at the Attorney General’s sufferance.

(David Cole. “Enemy Aliens and American Freedoms.” The Nation. September 5, 2002.)
David Cole. “Their Liberties, Our Security.” New Democracy Forum: Civil Liberties after 9/11-Boston Review. Volume 27. Number 6. December 2002/January 2003.

The war on terror is a dangerous distortion which turns fanatics into warriors.

In their 2007 report, “Heads We Win: The Cognitive Side of Counterinsurgency (COIN),” the Rand Corporation stated,

“In fact, the jihadist fire is stoked by a claim that Islam and Muslims are under American and Zionist attack and are left with no choice but to counterattack…. At the same time, the U.S. tendency to homogenize the Salafist [the Islamist-Sunni-Salafist jihad that rages from Southeast Asia to northwest Iraq to northern Africa to central London]…treating all political Islamists, Muslim insurgents, and religious radicals as holy warriors plays directly into al Qaeda’s hands by strengthening links among movements and expanding the recruiting pool.”

(David C. Gompert. “Heads We Win: The Cognitive Side of Counterinsurgency (COIN).” RAND Corporation: National Defense Research Institute. 2007.)