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The $5 Trillion Wars


The $5 Trillion Wars

Linda Bilmes

This October marks 15 years since American troops entered Afghanistan. It was a precursor to the occupation of Iraq and is the longest military conflict in US history. Yet the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives expended in these wars have rated barely a mention in the presidential campaign.


From whose pockets did the $5trillion come from and into whose pockets did it go to?


Excellent article. In addition to the immense monetary cost to our nation, which has diverted and will continue to suck resources that might have been spent on the health, education, and general welfare of our people, the Iraq War has spawned a series of unintended, but largely predictable, adverse consequences that will haunt us all for generations to come. Far from the "mistake" the presidential candidates label it, the decision to launch this illegal war of aggression has been an unmitigated catastrophe for our country. But, unlike the thousands of Americans killed and wounded, or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, the men responsible for conceiving and launching it have suffered no consequences.


" Yet the trillions of $ and the thousands of lives expended in these wars have rated barely a mention in the presidential campaign."

Because the American people live in a military dictatorship; a war racket that has nothing to do with "enemies".

We have two stooges of the war racket discussing who is worse! Presidential candidates are selected, not elected, the presidential elections are a delusion put on the American people that they live in a democracy. Cui bono: the war racket profiteers, that's who!


America is mad on war.


I AM sure that President Clinton will NOT "lead a national conversation"...on war or anything else. A national conversation fosters transparency...180 degrees from what the billion corporate dollars the DNC receives this year are paying for.

With DNC Russian hacking allegations setting the stage for a cold war revival, the faux transparency that Obama has modeled so well for two terms will be the best we can hope for during the next four years.


Linda Bilmes says that we all want to continue to support our troops. Well, I for one, don't particularly want to. Our troops are being used as pawns for the 1%. I would be supportive of our troops for strictly defensive purposes, but they haven't been used in that way in a long, long, time.


In Zombie America, this doesn't raise an eyebrow. But hey, State Workers' pensions. Well, that's a whole other story!!!


Oh really? While I agree with all of the comments above I must ask? How do you get around? Do you really think the US economy supports your standard of living? What kind of living do you think you would have in the absence of US imperialism? Are you willing to give anything up or do you think we could just eliminate the wars and nothing would change economically on the home front? Its great passing the cost on to other countries and the US future so we can live high on the hog today but really, how many changes do you see around you of people willingly choosing to cut back their lifestyles to stop US intervention? I don't see any, even by the most astute of my acquaintances.

Don't be stupid. Americans are willing to kill all over the world to support an unsustainable, unearned lifestyle which most of us enjoy and are willing to ignore the consequences of so we don't have to give up anything. Want to make the US take notice? Implement a $5 gas tax and see how the attitude of the comatose public changes.


You beat me to it. I don't want to continue to support the troops. Unless it is to support cutting war appropriations and pentagon budgets to the bones so that the US has no troops posted in any other country except the US! Support the troops by waging peace!


Nice photo of USAian soldiers navigating a stream. I trust that they are keeping their sextants dry. But why can't they walk along the bank? Ever since MacArthur stepped off that landing craft too early, USAian soldiers keep having to get their feet wet when being photographed.


I'm pretty sure I remember the trillion dollar figure being used in the late 90's to early 00's as the upper estimate of global investment it would take to move the world to a climate saving renewable energy position. It was used as a means to quench the argument of investing in renewables as such an exorbitant sum was simply unimaginable…(sigh)


apparently the "enemy" would never imagine planting mines in a creek bed...


There are countries that have a high standard of living without sending troops abroad. Several of them provide better living conditions for their citizens than the average American has. The trickle-down from the military-industrial complex is pretty meagre.


Aah. Of course.Thank you for enlightening me about the tactical wisdom employed by the soldiers. And it would keep their feet cool in a hot climate too. I lack military experience.


Not killing people is equally unimaginable.


Its all smoke and shadows! To see thru the delusion, still the masses remain in delusion, fascist trump and war criminal killary. Imperialist amerika is a dying empire!


Ms. Bilmes makes an interesting point:

"The Pentagon should be focused on Tactics, not on Deciding our National Purpose."

When Reagan began the spectacle of a President returning Salutes to the Military, it said a lot.

One, the President is a Civilian in charge of, not part of the Military.

Two, a Superior Officer never initiates a salute, only returns it, so, not only does it display a false membership in the Military but, more so, Subservience to it.


Exactly correct, Scandinavia for starters.


Membership in the US Military, as it is used today, is no longer an Honorable Calling.