The cost of warfare

Washington is finally counting lives and dollars lost in wars. It’s amazing to learn that the world superpower with at least a trillion dollar annual budget deficit additionally carries a war tag of around $3.5 trillion.

That count by any means is not an end in itself. The final bill for the misadventures from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan, during the last decade since 9/11 attacks, is supposed to cross over $4.7 trillion, and stares in the face a moral responsibilityin the form of nursing the wounded and compensating for the dead. The report released by the Brown Universitys Watson Institute for International Studies is a telling tale of maverick-ism and deception, all undertaken merely to appease the arrogant few warmongers in the Pentagon, White House and Capitol Hill, respectively.

Now as the Obama administration sits back to rewrite a new policy after formally announcing to thin its presence from Afghanistan — from 100,000 to 70,000 by the year 2012, it will inadvertently find itself in the woods. The war on terrorism is far from over, and leaving behind an imploding Afghanistan and a boiling Pakistan in its neighbourhood won’t be an easy task. Though President Obama has categorically said that his administration would not care for leaving behind a perfect society in the war-weary country, it will not absolve him of the undercurrents that are not only serious in nature but also toiling at the same time. For long it will be bogged down in the intricate affair of convincing the Taleban to get political in substance and relinquish the terror apparatus. Last but not the least, though policy-makers in Washington are free from concerns on the count of the dreaded terrorist, Osama bin Laden, his legacy is very much around to haunt in the form of Al Qaeda rubbing shoulders with like-minded terror outfits in the region, operating with new vision and nomenclatures.

It goes without saying that though Washington can count for the pennies statistically, it could hardly account for more than 250,000 casualties in any political connotation. This is why a perpetual decision is in need of being made to end this state business of making wars, and make peace with itself. One right decision can make the difference for all times to come.

Khaleej Times

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