Afghanistan Finally Overtakes Iraq in Terms of Per Month Spending

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"Afghanistan Finally Overtakes Iraq in Terms of Per Month Spending"

Richard Wolf writes on defense spending trends:

The monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan, driven by troop increases and fighting on difficult terrain, has topped Iraq costs for the first time since 2003 and shows no sign of letting up.

Pentagon spending in February, the most recent month available, was $6.7 billion in Afghanistan compared with $5.5 billion in Iraq. As recently as fiscal year 2008, Iraq was three times as expensive; in 2009, it was twice as costly.

Irrespective of your feelings about Iraq today, it’s worth taking a minute to observe that it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2004. And it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2005. And it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2006. And it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2007. And it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2008. And it was absurd to spend more money in Iraq than Afghanistan in 2009.

And not just absurd, it’s been positively tragic. Throughout 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 the population of Afghanistan was, unlike the population of Iraq, strongly supportive of a US military presence. If you want to use the US military for humanitarian ends, that’s how you want to use it—in places where it’s wanted. But we squandered goodwill over a period of years, failed to provide security, failed to provide economic opportunity, and ultimately let the Taliban regroup. Now we face a tragic and difficult situation where much of the population wants us gone, and much of the population fears being abandoned to the Taliban’s clutches. It’s an extremely tough spot, and almost certainly unnecessary.

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