The Washington Post reported Monday that Obama administration officials said the cost of the war in Afghanistan is likely to be a major consideration in the White House’s upcoming deliberations on the future of U.S. involvement there. “Money is the new 800-pound gorilla,” said one anonymous official, who added that the internal debate is shifting “from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’”
But last night on Fox News, leading neocon Bill Kristol suggested that worrying about the war’s cost isn’t patriotic:
KRISTOL: Well I’m hoping, I am assuming and a lot of that assumption is hope, that these two senior anonymous administration officials who were quoted in the Washington Post story are trying to lobby through the media that the President is intelligent enough and honestly patriotic enough that having committed to this war he knows we have to win it and he is not going to nickel and dime the commanders for a few billion dollars.
The U.S. has spent more than $400 billion in Afghanistan so far, and that price tag will likely double by 2014. The war there currently costs the American tax payer nearly $6 billion per month and it costs $1 million for one servicemember to deploy to Afghanistan for one year.
All told, by 2021, the United States will have spent somewhere between $2 and $3 trillion on fighting wars since 9/11, and the American taxpayer will continue to pay on these debts for some time.
Yet Kristol said just four months ago that “this debt and deficit will destroy us as a country.” Apparently it’s popular social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security that fall into that debt category, not waging wars.