Iraq and Afghanistan war spending and homeland security have comprised more than 25% of the Government debt increase since 2001.
We are covering the cost of the wars with borrowing.
Remember those Bush Tax Cuts? Yup.
George W slashed taxes in 2001 and 2003. And when government revenue is choked off while undertaking two new wars funded by borrowing, debt will pile on fast.

And where is the money going? Well…
The Pentagon has not once produced a clean financial audit since government auditing began twenty years ago. And from what we do know through congressional investigations it is estimated that 25% of wartime contractors is wasted or misspent.

On September 18th of 2011, Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in the LA Times an essay titled “A Costly War Machine.” There they write,
“The invasion of Iraq and the resulting instability in the Persian Gulf were among the factors that pushed oil prices up from about $30 a barrel in 2003 to historic highs five years later…Higher oil prices threatened to depress U.S. economic activity, prompting the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates and loosen regulations. These policies were major contributors to the housing bubble and the financial collapse that followed.”

There are costs of war beyond any monetary evaluation. The human costs bore by our military service members and their families are great and as a nation and as individuals we must hold dear the honor and memory of each member of our Armed Forces that have given their lives.
Currently, an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day and every month 1,000 veterans attempt suicide.
Since 2002 an estimated 200,000 service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Over 12 percent of veterans deployed after 2001 are currently unemployed.

Since 2001, at least 20% of the US’ soldiers experience the symptoms of PTSD.
These symptoms include insomnia, depression, and bouts of rage.
Although women are twice as likely as men to develop combat related PTSD, currently that are less likely to seek medical treatment for it.

The face of the US’ human toll in war is often that of the soldiers but the repercussions of service in the armed forces also dramatically affects the veterans’ families.
Research suggests that children of service members are at higher risk of behavioral disorders, violent aggression, and learning disabilities.
The spouses of military service members are as adversely affected by drug and alcohol abuse as the veterans themselves.
The marriages of service members are twice as likely as their civilian peers to end in divorce.
Domestic violence surfaces in the relationships of veterans and their partners four times as often as their civilian peers.

As a nation, we have the power to choose how we conduct ourselves in the world.
We have the power to vote for political leadership who are committed to ending the US’ pattern of violent incursions around the world.
We have the power to demand from our leaders and corporations that war profiteering be made illegal.
We have the power to demand of our government that the VA be well funded and effectively run to ensure the best possible treatment of all our service members.
We can motivate and lead within our communities of faith to serve the veteran population.
We can tell our elected officials that we desire our taxes to support better lives for those at home in the US and those abroad.

*I want to recognize that this post does not include the costs to the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere due to US military violence. The lives, cultures, and well being of all people are important and I sought to focus this post on the US perspective.
Challenges met by some in our Armed Forces–and source for some of this post’s information:

How the US’ militarism is damaging our nation’s economy and quality of life–and source for this post:–bilmes-war-cost-20110918
By Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz
Veteran and Families

Veterans For Peace

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)