Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Paying for Endless War

It was a big week for Afghanistan news. At the Chicago summit, NATO leaders agreed give Afghan forces the lead in combat operations by mid-2013 and withdraw ISAF combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 – a plan that Defense Secretary Panetta announced back in February. Meanwhile, two big leadership changes were announced: U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker is stepping down for health reasons, and Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, is expected to leave at the end of the year to become the chief allied commander in Europe.

The connecting thread here is that the U.S. plan for Afghanistan shows neither stability nor clarity of purpose. The result, of course, is that American taxpayers will have to keep on paying for a war that they do not want. And it won’t be cheap. This year the U.S. will spend $2 billion per week on the war in Afghanistan. Next year, if Congress approves the president’s budget request, costs will go down slightly, to only $1.7 billion per week.

From ASG

Open-Ended Commitment To Afghanistan Will Cost Taxpayers Billions
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
Fiscal conservatives are always saying we need to rein in wasteful government spending. Where are the fiscal conservatives when it comes to ending the wasteful war in Afghanistan?

Accounting for War
National Priorities Project by Chris Hellman
The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and the winding down of military operations in Afghanistan does not mean the end of the U.S. presence or war-related funding. U.S. taxpayers will continue to provide funding for Iraq and Afghanistan for years into the future.

General says Afghanistan will need “combat power”
The United States will require “significant firepower” in Afghanistan in 2013-14, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces there said, but decisions about further U.S. troop reductions will only be made after this fall at the earliest.

Afghanistan’s Squandered Foreign Aid Has Young Businessmen Worried About Future
Huffington Post by Joshua Hersh
The billions of dollars that has flowed through the country for the past decade may have made some people rich, but has failed to create the kind of environment that would allow businesses to sustain themselves after the international community withdraws, or the kind of businesses that might choose to stick around.


Apathetic on Afghanistan: Why the candidates are ignoring voter sentiment
Highlander News by Brendan Bordelon
If Americans cannot muster the courage to stand by their convictions and hold our elected officials accountable for wasteful and destructive policies, the worthless death and devastation may well continue into 2014 and beyond. In the last two presidential elections, war was a central campaign issue. This time, voters only worry about Afghanistan when they’re forced to. Can we expect our politicians to behave any differently?

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