Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Declining Support for a Costly, Unnecessary War

It’s widely known that support for the war in Afghanistan is plummeting among the general public. Less well-known is the fact that antiwar sentiment is growing among post-9/11 veterans too. A recent poll shows that 33% of veterans believe the war is not worth the costs. These veterans are joined by members of the faculty at West Point Military Academy who argue that the Afghanistan counterinsurgency could work, but at an unacceptable cost to the United States.

While opposition to the Afghanistan war is growing, the U.S. Congress continues to back the war effort. The House of Representatives recently voted down an amendment to withdraw combat troops quickly. And the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve the Pentagon’s request of $88.5 billion for war costs in 2013, bringing the total costs of the war to over $600 billion.

From ASG
$85 Billion in Aid to Afghanistan Wasted
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
Much the $100 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars spent Afghanistan aid has been misdirected. A former senior auditor for SIGAR estimates that only 15% of aid dollars makes it to the intended recipient. The rest is lost to waste and corruption or eaten up by overhead costs. For the U.S., that means $85 billion has been wasted in Afghanistan.

West Point Is Divided on a War Doctrine’s Fate
The New York Times by Elisabeth Bumiller

Narrowly, the argument is whether the counterinsurgency strategy used in Iraq and Afghanistan — the troop-heavy, time-intensive, expensive doctrine of trying to win over the locals by building roads, schools and government — is dead. Broadly, the question is what the United States gained after a decade in two wars.

Among post-9/11 veterans, deepening antiwar sentiment
The CS Monitor by Gloria Goodale
This Memorial Day the Iraq war is over and the Afghanistan war is winding down, but they’re weighing heavily on post-9/11 veterans, 33 percent of whom said they weren’t worth the cost.

Afghanistan Exit Strategy Must Focus on Development
US News and World Report by Michael Honda and Michael Shank
Development in Afghanistan is currently in the wrong hands. Tens of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money have been spent over almost 12 years in Afghanistan on development projects which were largely managed and implemented by foreign contractors and with little regard for long-term localized viability.

Cost of war in Afghanistan not justified
The Portland Maine Press Herald Editorial Board
It’s time to reflect once again on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and their costs in lives, treasure and national prestige. In the end, Afghanistan was not what candidate Barack Obama described as a “smart war,” with clear military objectives and a way out, but another “dumb war” like Iraq, where the liberators soon became a detested occupying army.

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