Author`s name Michael Simpson

USA Squandering Money?

US's spendings on the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have almost approached the level of spending on the Vietnam War
What is the biggest damage to the policy of the present-day American administration? Is it daily reports about the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? As it turns out, this is not the worst thing although death of soldiers can hardly be called an achievement of the White House. For some period all losses can be justified as "inevitable losses for the sake of democracy." At the same time, it's not good to try and give the same excuse to the spending on military operations conducted in other countries of the world which is increasing every month. This is rather interesting but each time it comes to people's own pockets taxpayers in all countries of the world ask themselves a question if powers that be do what they must do.

This fact also concerns the USA. The USA Today newspaper estimated that spendings of Washington on the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have practically approached the level of spending of the operations during the Vietnam War.

According to the US Department of Defense, every month the Pentagon spends about $5 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by the end of the year the sum may amount to $60 billion. At that the sums mentioned do not include financing appropriated for post-war restoration of the infrastructure of both countries. As for Vietnam, no post-war restoration was spoken about at all.

Over the period of the military operations in Vietnam within 1964-1972 the USA spent the total sum of $111 billion. If we take inflation into consideration, the sum makes up a bit more than $494 billion; in other words it is about $61.8 billion per year or $5.15 billion a month. Why does maintenance of the 150 thousand servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan cost almost the same sum that financing of 500 thousand servicemen in Vietnam? This is quite understandable as the military operations in Vietnam were mostly carried out by low-paid conscripts. Today's US army formed on a contractual basis costs America much more as compared with the regular army. What is more, the US economy growth within the past decades has made war waging a much cheaper process. For instance, during the Vietnam campaign the war spending made up 12 per cent of the country's economic volume, while today the war spending makes up just 0.5 per cent.

Does it mean the spending can be still increased?

At the same time, the financing appropriated now is still not enough. The US president has already appealed to the US Congress for allotment of $87 billion next year for realization of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is not the end: George W. Bush constantly says that the USA will spend as much as needed to do away with terrorism.

The logic of the US president is paradoxical indeed. In fact, what the USA does just provokes increase of terrorism even more. This is quite obvious in Iraq. If there were any radical Islamist organizations on the Iraqi territory before the war they were operating deep in underground. But now it seems that all radicals of the world have come to Iraq now. Indeed, the occupational authorities in Iraq say that al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations have become really very active in the country. So it turns out that first the USA creates problems for itself and then actively starts solution of the problems. But the effectiveness of US's actions is still open to question.