War Cost

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Dear ___,

My name is ___. I'm a student at that location. Today, I am writing to you to express my concern about the rising costs of the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the impact on our economy and the condition of our national debt. It is increasingly obvious to those of my generation that as soon as we step up to take the reins of leadership from the older generation, we will inherit a huge debt. It is also apparent to many of my generation that little, if anything, has been done to date to relieve some of the burden of the costs of fighting these 

wars and the debt this is causing.  My purpose in writing this letter is to outline the problem as I see it and offer some limited solutions.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan transitioned from active combat to support missions in recent years but still there are a significant number of troops on the ground in both countries which require ongoing support.  In human terms these two wars have collectively caused 6,800 U.S. military deaths, 32,000 wounded and more than 970,000 new claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-related injuries and connected conditions.  The financial costs of these two wars is even more staggering with direct costs to the U.S. taxpayer of $1.6 trillion and estimated indirect costs ranging between $4 and $6 trillion.

Adding to the costs in human and financial terms are the social implications of the wars.  These include the burden that Americans of lesser financial status are taking on because they are the ones who are overwhelmingly fighting and dying in these conflicts.  Scholars like Kriner and Shen have noted that disproportionately it is the citizens from the nation’s poorer regions who are being sent to fight in support of the country’s foreign policy.  Another cost which weighs on American citizens is what is sometimes called “spread” where what America does, or in this case fails to do, win the war in Iraq, causes other problems such as the establishment of groups like ISIS and the near destabilization of the entire Middle East region.

Clearly, the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan are complicated and not to be solved easily.  Withdrawal of our troops, the solution President Obama used in his most recent term, has left vacuums in both countries which have been filled by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and has shown that America’s power and influence are on the decline in the greater Middle East.  Americans are weary of war and in large numbers the support for continuing such wars is dwindling rapidly.  President Trump is now doing what should have been done by President Obama during the whole of his 8-year term, listen to the military commanders in the field, follow their suggestions, and give them autonomy to act when necessary to military expediency.  As Greg Myre noted in a recent interview on Jefferson Public Radio, Trump has given his military commanders “authority to pull the trigger”.  I believe that this is the right strategy regarding the conduct of warfare.  I would like your full support for the position which I, and many other Americans hold, and that is to take the politicians out of the war and let the military men do their jobs.  I thank you for your time and attention to this letter and this matter in general.

Sincerely yours,

[Insert your name here]

 

Bibliography

Deer, Patrick. 2016. "Mapping Contemporary American War Culture." College Literature 43, no. 1: 48-90, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1767144098?.

EconMatters: Iraq vs. Vietnam: Which Is the Worst U.S. Foreign Policy. 2016. Chatham: Newstex. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1807916735?a

Katz, Mark N. 2010. “Implications of America Withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Middle East Policy Council website. http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/implications-america-withdrawing-iraq-and-afghanistan?print 

Kriner, Douglas L. and Francis X. Shen. 2016. "Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice." The University of Memphis Law Review 46, no. 3: 545-635, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1788738722? 

Myre, Greg. 2017. “Trump's National Security Strategy Empowers Military Commanders.” Jefferson Public Radio website. http://ijpr.org/post/trumps-national-security-strategy-empowers-military-commanders#stream/0. 

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