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War Profiteering And The Mismanagement Of Tax Payer Dollars

1933 words - 8 pages

The act of war is hardly cheap. In fact, as the years go by and technology progresses, each war becomes increasingly more expensive than the last. There are troops to train, house, and feed, as well as transportation to provide and weapons to manufacture. Many people fail to realize that the spending continues long after the war has ended in the form of stabilizing and reconstructing war-torn countries and care for veterans. A large amount of this money comes from United States taxpayers. While no one is particularly fond of paying taxes, most of us accept it as our duty and contribute without too much complaint. Would we still continue to do so if we knew what was really happening with our tax dollars? Although many people believe the money spent on war is justified, in reality a huge amount of that money ends up being stolen, mismanaged, or simply falls through the cracks and is never seen again.
In March of 2003, President George W. Bush launched an invasion of Iraq, thus beginning the Iraq war, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, our most recent involvement with war. Larry Lindsey, an economist for the Bush administration, estimated that this war would cost the United States between $100 billion and $200 billion; however, those numbers were seriously underestimated (Stiglitz 1). In the article, “A Tabulation of the Human, Financial, and Strategic Costs,” Matthew Duss, Peter Juul, and Brian Katulis report that as of May, 2010, the Iraq war has cost the United States $748.2 billion. In the years to come, it is expected that another $422 billion to $717 billion will be spent on veteran health care and disability. As of early 2010, the relief and reconstruction of Iraq has cost the United States an additional $162.83 billion (Duss, Juul & Katulispara 9-18). President Bush had once claimed that the war with Iraq would be good for our economy; instead, our economy is “in the proverbial crapper”, the cost of living has sky rocketed, and millions of people are unemployed.
What is it about war that makes it such an expensive venture? Joseph Stiglitz gives us a brief run down in his article “The High Cost of The Iraq War.” To start with, Americans pay $300 billion per year to be able to fight where needed, otherwise known as military preparedness. The cost of recruiting alone has gone up 20% between 2003 and 2005. The military also has a serious problem with retention and has begun offering a large re-enlistment bonus and benefits in an effort to encourage soldiers to return to service. In the event a soldier dies, The United States issues a payment of $500,000 to the family and those that return home wounded receive disability benefits. In the Iraq War alone, over 16,000 veterans have returned home severely wounded (Stiglitz 1-2). Most of these veterans will no doubt require disability and healthcare for the rest of their lives. For those that return home otherwise healthy, there may be psychological concerns that lead them to seek...

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