Skip to main content

As  our summer days begin to shorten, I, like many others, am very aware that this year our country will reach the 10-year mark since September 11, 2001.

Many of us filled houses of worship that night as we pondered what and how we as Americans felt, and what actions our country needed to take as a response.

Now ten years later, we continue to remember and ask questions.  Will there ever be healing?

During these these same ten years we have seen other threats looming over our neighbors that have had devastating effects,  particularly for our economy, the poor, the elderly, and our environment.  These also call  us to ponder what do we do now as people of faith amidst the following staggering facts from a Brown University study called The Cost of War:

While we know how many US soldiers have died in (post-9/11) wars (just over 6000), what is startling is what we don’t know about the levels of injury and illness in those who have returned from the wars. New disability claims continue to pour into the VA, with 550,000 just through last fall. Many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been identified.

At least 137,000 civilians have died and more will die in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the fighting at the hands of all parties to the conflict.

The armed conflict in Pakistan, which the U.S. helps the Pakistani military fight by funding, equipping and training them, has taken as many lives as the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan.

Putting together the conservative numbers of war dead, in uniform and out, brings the total to 225,000.

Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions.The current number of war refugees and displaced persons -- 7,800,000 -- is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Kentucky fleeing their homes.

The wars have been accompanied by an erosion in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.

The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century. Many of the wars’ costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. For example, while most people think the Pentagon war appropriations are equivalent to the wars’ budgetary costs, the true numbers are twice that, and the full economic cost of the wars much larger yet. Conservatively estimated, the war bills already paid and obligated to be paid are $3.2 trillion in constant dollars. A more reasonable estimate puts the number at nearly $4 trillion.

As with former US wars, the costs of paying for veterans’ care into the future will be a sizable portion of the full costs of the war.

The ripple effects on the U.S. economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases, and those effects have been under-appreciated.

While it was promised that the US invasions would bring democracy to both countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, both continue to rank low in global rankings of political freedom, with warlords continuing to hold power in Afghanistan with US support, and Iraqi communities more segregated today than before by gender and ethnicity as a result of the war.

Serious and compelling alternatives to war were scarcely considered in the aftermath of 9/11 or in the discussion about war against Iraq. Some of those alternatives are still available to the U.S.


As we approach the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 and ten days later the local celebration of Asheville's own International Day of Peace (9/21), I ask readers to  join with me in resolving to Bring Our War Dollars -- and Fellow Citizens -- Home!
Poll

How would you spend $4 trillion in 10 years?

17%8 votes
6%3 votes
0%0 votes
8%4 votes
4%2 votes
4%2 votes
8%4 votes
0%0 votes
6%3 votes
38%18 votes
6%3 votes

| 47 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks, (0+ / 0-)

    a very well-written Diary.  I agree with you, wish I could Rec it more.

    And so true.  When will we learn?  I still recall how disgusted I was at the office, when we were getting ready to invade Iraq.  Prayed that they wouldn't do it.  All the people in the office, they were so excited!!! They brought in small flags, their cars were covered with yellow magnets.  There was so much patriotic fervor.  I wondered if in their excitement, they could imagine what it was really going to be like.  And the devastation we would leave behind.

    After a while, the excitement died down.  People took down their flags.  The yellow magnets fell off the cars.  People started complaining about the cost of the war.  I said - nothing.

    That was a horrible time to be working at that office.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site