Who benefits from the War on Terror?
Johnny Barber writes from Kabul:
On September 11th, 2001, George W. Bush announced, “We are at war. Somebody is going to pay.” Eleven years later, we are still paying. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born in Fallujah will continue to pay for decades to come.
Our soldiers, some physically damaged by IED’s, some mentally destroyed by PTSD, will pay for these wars for the rest of their days. Drug and alcohol abuse is out of control. Suicide among the troops is an epidemic. The Veterans Administration estimates about 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Mental illness plagues 45% of homeless vets and 70% suffer from some kind of substance abuse.
84,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. While the occupation is rarely mentioned in the U.S. mainstream media, that doesn’t mean the killing has stopped. On average, one U.S. soldier dies everyday. Not an enormous sum, unless it is your mother, father, son or daughter that has perished. Afghan loses are not reported. They have loved ones who grieve as well.
And what of the $2 billion dollars per week we are spending on war in Afghanistan? What would $2 billion per week look like in our devastated communities, in our schools, in creating jobs or in caring for our elders? Politicians in both parties claim our first priority is to reduce the debt. If they were really serious, if they were honest, they would end this occupation and stop calling for cuts to Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Social Security.
In America, 35 million people are hungry or do not know where their next meal is coming from and 13 million of them are children. Who benefits from the “War on Terror”?
In Kabul, children freeze to death in the winter, and they starve to death all year round. Meanwhile on the edge of Kabul a “New City” is being built. Hamid Karzai’s brother, Qayum Karzai, the owner of a construction company, benefits as his company “wins” government contracts without the hassles of competitive bidding. Karzai’s relatives are also benefiting from lucrative contracts in the oil and mineral sectors. According to the NY Times, another brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai was involved in the heroin trade and was also on the CIA’s payroll for several years before his assassination in 2011. The Karzai family brings in billions of dollars a year while 42% of Afghans live on less than a dollar a day.
In 2011 overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market. Russia was second, with $4.8 billion in deals. Who benefits from the War on Terror and who benefits when America threatens war?
People continue to pay an enormous price, while the elites, including our own government and the corporations it answers to, ignore everything but the influx of cash into their coffers.