Iraq Afghan and Libyan wars and S&P downgrade are linked

The latest tragedy that took the lives of 38 American soldiers, 7 afghan troops,and a translator in Afghanistan has forced the "why are we still there?" discussion back into the headlines. The Obama administration still has no credible plan for complete withdrawal from either Iraq or Afghanistan. This helicopter being shot down shows the American public that an untold number of lives could still be lost as long as we have 100's of thousands of men and women deployed in the region.

But I want to set aside for a second the obvious moral and strategic debate for either continuing or discontinuing the wars. It is the perfect time to make the case to end these wars simply for economic reasons. We can obviously not afford these wars, and I don't believe that we ever could. This is now painfully clear with the downgrading of the United States' credit rating by Standard and Poors Friday evening.

If a reason for a truly just war were to arise the United States would be left broke and defenseless. And this is the reality at a time with the majority of the developed world is furious at our irresponsible handling of our debt to GDP ratio.

China has issued statements on the debt ceiling deal and the downgrade that are harsher than any in recent memory, saying editorial in a state run newspaper the Xinhua, "All Americans, both beltway politicians and those on Main Street, have to do some serious soul-searching to bring their country back from a potential financial abyss." While ending the wars alone would not solve the debt crisis it would be a sincere sign of good faith that the US is serious about paying it's debt obligations.

Iraq and Afghanistan have cost US taxpayers $1.2 trillion over the last 10 years and with the planners in Washington adding conflicts to the list every year (Libya, bombings in Yemen and Pakistan) it is conceivable that the US will spend well over $1 trillion in the coming decade attempting to maintain a global empire.

If the US could take that $1 trillion off of the balance sheet it would be a serious signal to not only the rating agencies but the world at large that they are serious about getting their debt to GDP ratio on a sustainable path.

Very few politicians or economists, save Ron Paul and a select few in the tea party, want to point to the wars as a cause for the debt/spending crisis. Most politicians were more comfortable to stay in their predefined corners which only allowed the Republicans to point to entitlements as a way to cut spending. And to be fair entitlement reform would have to play a role but not to the extent proposed if the wars would end. Writing off the debt owed to the Federal Reserve system is also an intriguing possibility but I will save that for another post.

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  1. Doug says:

    Interesting take. I think that the GOP is not going to go along with your view though. They have too much invested in the wars to turn back now. At least that is the way they look at it.

  2. Susan says:

    I hate reading that people want to cut and run just because we are having a little trouble financially. If you want to see real trouble in the stock market just allow another terrorist attack to happen.

    Nobody likes to remember that this problem in the markets started because of 9/11! Wake up people!

  3. Dave says:

    Osama’s dead, Saddam’s dead, and the terrorist organizations have been broken, reformed, and broken again.

    How much more of us soldiers have to come home in a box for you glory seeking bastards who lack the guts to fight yourselves before you see the mission you sent us for IS done? Lets GTFO, save some money and (more importantly) LIVES of the few Americans worthy of the name.

  4. beachbum says:

    “Very few politicians or economists, save Ron Paul and a select few in the tea party, want to point to the wars as a cause for the debt/spending crisis.”

    I would mention Justin Amash of Michigan in this same group. He should be given a lot of credit for what he is doing and maybe you should do a write up on him in the near future. He needs support and recognition to make his job easier in the House. Thanks!

  5. Shaun Booth says:

    Dave-
    I would have to agree with you. Thanks for your service, now lets get you and all of your buddies home safe!

    Beachbum-
    I agree that Amash is doing great as a freshman congressman. I will likely do a write up on him in the future. I love that he is a great example of sticky by his principles yet still being successful in elections.

  6. Dean says:

    Doug, you’re correct about the Republicans having too much invested in the 5 wars. However, even as I type, Paulies by the thousands are taking over state republican organizations. How many are taken over before the primary will determine who is the next President. Peace loving independents and Democrats should register and help.

  7. Shaun Booth says:

    I think you’re right Dean, the grassroots organizing of the Ron Paul followers can not be underestimated. The last time around in 2008 was a dry run/learning process, there are a bunch of skilled politically savvy RP followers this time around.

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