The Cost of War
This week, the focus of my articles will center around the cost of war to America and to other countries where war is fought.
The Cost of War Project
The Costs of War Project is a team of 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians, which began its work in 2011. We use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. There are many hidden or unacknowledged costs of the United States’ decision to respond to the 9/11 attacks with military force. We aim to foster democratic discussion of these wars by providing the fullest possible account of their human, economic, and political costs, and to foster better informed public policies.
The Cost of War Project can be found at http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/. I hope readers will access the information on this website.
Economic Costs of War
The following information has been collected by the Cost of War Project as of September 2016.
The United States federal government has spent or obligated 4.8 trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. This figure includes: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.
The current wars have been paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the US budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconomic effects, such as raising consumer interest rates. Unless the US immediately repays the money borrowed for war, there will also be future interest payments. We estimate that interest payments could total over $7.9 trillion by 2053.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5.9).
Prior to World War II, religious leaders in American and in Japan attempted to work out a peace process. The peace plan involved significant expenditures of funds, but nothing compared to the economic costs of the war.
When that peace plan was rejected by both the Japanese and American governments, these religious leaders prayed fervently for peace. The believed that the only way to defeat the immense hatred of countries toward each other was to conquer it with a larger power – love.
The letter to the Romans states: “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12.18 and 21).
These religious leaders didn’t stop working toward peace until they saw peace realized. Following the war, they continued to sacrificially work for the purposes of our loving God among the people of the world.
Prayer for Peace
Dear God, please make us peacemakers in a world of conflict.