We all know it costs the lives and health of our soldiers, but when old men send young men to war, it costs huge amounts of money too, and now that we’re in a recession, we have to ask ourselves: Was it worth it?

Over a decade after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, our coffers are empty, after spending billions of dollars on those two wars.

In the January 24th edition of the Financial Times, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes write that "the true cost of the war is only just beginning. Indeed, the costs after withdrawal may exceed those during the war. Choices made in the past decade mean high costs for years to come–and will constrain other national security spending.

"The costs of disability and healthcare benefits for recent war veterans (are growing) enormously. With nearly one in two returning troops suffering some form of disability –ranging from depression to multiple amputation–the reality far exceeds our estimates. The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving government medical care has grown to more than 800,000, and most have applied for permanent disability benefits. Total personnel costs will soon reach one-third of the total defense budget.

"The legacy of poor decision-making from the expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will live on in a continued drain on our economy long after the last troop returns to American soil."

In a speech he gave in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This is a world in arms. This world in arms in not spending money along; it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

If only we could leave fighting to machine men. If you want to understand what that would be like, subscribe today and get a beautiful hardcover copy of Whitley’s novel "Hybrids" for less than $5!

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