Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
The Boondoggle Continues
This, however, is not a blog about economics other than we espouse a foreign policy that does not bankrupt the nation. FP is not necessarily the remit of Mish's blog, but there is no resentment from us. Step on our toes anytime, Mr. Shedlock.
Anyway, Mish has been trading emails with a soldier over in Afghanistan. The soldier, BP pinged Mish,
You really need to do something on the waste of this war. Foreign contractors are everywhere you look.
KBR must have 4 civilians for every military member. There are a few American contractors but most seem to be Foreign nationals. Philippine nationals are everywhere. I'm sure they get paid peanuts so the KBR shareholders get their return.
Mish did some research on the question and quotes a Wapo article ,
The surge of 30,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan could be accompanied by a surge of up to 56,000 contractors, vastly expanding the presence of personnel from the U.S. private sector in a war zone, according to a study by the Congressional Research Service.
CRS, which provides background information to members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, said it expects an additional 26,000 to 56,000 contractors to be sent to Afghanistan. That would bring the number of contractors in the country to anywhere from 130,000 to 160,000.
The CRS study says contractors made up 69 percent of the Pentagon's personnel in Afghanistan last December, a proportion that "apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by the Defense Department in any conflict in the history of the United States."
He quotes James Howard Kunstler on the unwinnability of the war. I find some of Kunstler's stuff charming, especially his autobiographical vignettes, but he does not mention his y2k doomer stuff that did not pan out. Saying the war is unwinnable now is only evidence of sanity. Saying it in 2001 was wisdom.
Back to Mish. His words are dead on.
How many trillions have we wasted on "Star Wars" initiatives? Yet since the end of the cold war, the big threat never was nor ever will be, countries firing missiles at us. The big threat to the US so far has been improper security procedures on airplanes and schools.
Nut cases are everywhere. Proof enough can be found in the US when Timothy McVeigh blew up a building, and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for the Columbine High School massacre.
It's important to remember "terror" is a method. A war on terror makes no sense because one cannot win a war on a method.
Externally, the most important thing to note is the longer we meddle in the internal affairs of other countries the more enemies we make.
In spite of the fact that Iraq was never a strategic threat to the US, we wasted $694 billion there as noted in Cost of Iraq war will surpass Vietnam. Add in future medical liabilities and money hidden elsewhere and the cost of Iraq easily exceeds $1 trillion. We can thank idiot Bush and Congressional morons for that mess.
Now Obama is about to throw more money down the Afghanistan black hole. Like Iraq, Afghanistan is another Vietnam. It will not cost as many lives but it is just as stupid and economically will cost as much if we stay for a few more years.
Why Do They Hate Us?
War mongers like to tout "they hate us for our freedoms". Well, no they don't. If that was the reason, they would hate New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Germany, Iceland, and dozens of other countries.
They hate the US because ...
* We have troops in 150 countries
* We support corrupt regimes
* We needlessly meddle in the internal affairs of other countries
* We have a one-sided policy on Israel
* We are hypocrites on free trade and human rights
The more we keep troops all over the world, the more enemies we make. Eventually it will bankrupt us. The only sane solution is to declare the war won and leave, not just Afghanistan, but 149 other countries as well.
Mish will have to bear the burden of being awarded the not too much coveted Neutralist Article of the Month for January. It is a great post and we wish to recognize him now. Also, this spares us having to make the effort to think about other articles.