Letter to the editor: Living in dangerous times
To the editor:
We are living at a dangerous time. We need to say no to war with Iran. We all need to ask: will the US will remain in perpetual war with countries in the Middle East? Recently, President Trump called off a military attack against Iran. He decided that killing 150 Iranians wasn't "proportionate." This was a good decision.
Trump said he was against the invasion of Iraq. We were sold a war by G.W. Bush and his senior staff. People like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Bolton. Now, Bolton is advising Trump about Iran and is pushing us towards war again. Fool me once. We need to stand up for Constitutional principles. After being lied into war in Vietnam and Iraq, we should demand that Congress declare war before invasions. The Bush administration said the Iraq war would pay for itself. It was a big lie then and it is a whopper-of-a-lie now. Our 18-year involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the longest war in US history. We have conservatively spent about $3 trillion dollars so far. We will likely spend more than $6 trillion after fully accounting for the costs of the war.The US has the largest military in the world. We spend about $700 billion a year, more than most of the world combined. Many Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, greens, and other political parties agree—we can't stay on this road. A big reason for our involvement in the Middle East has been about oil. Keep in mind—15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia—none of them were from Iraq. But, Saudi Arabia has oil. We need to end our oil-addiction with the Middle East. The US can make its own energy and so can Minnesota.
To put this war spending into perspective, for $3 trillion dollars the US could have installed 750,000 large-scale wind turbines. Or, 15,000 turbines per state with an installed capacity of 40,000 MW. For perspective, we have two nuclear plants in Minnesota and together these plants produce about 2,000 MW, which is 20% of the generating capacity in Minnesota. Utilities are shuttering coal plants and installing wind as fast as they can because it's the cheapest energy. It's about the economics. But, it is also about our national security and national priorities. Spending on war means less spending things that make life better for Americans. When Trump sent 100 Tomahawk missiles into Syria it cost $150M—or about 10 water treatment plants like we built in Morris. You can't be a deficit-hawk and support endless war. Making things worse, after the new tax breaks passed we are now running $1 trillion deficits. For too long, chickenhawk politicians have been taking us into war. But, this is about much more than money. Millions of US soldiers and their families have been affected. Thousands have been killed and displaced on all sides. And, what have we accomplished? Even more, war has become politicized. Remember, last October when several Green Berets were ambushed by ISIS in Africa? Probably not, because we didn't have hearings for a year. To emphasize the point, remember, Benghazi? There were 10 separate investigations, over 33 hearings, including an 11-hour hearing with Hillary Clinton, $7M spent, and numerous reports produced.
Our moral standing in the world is compromised. The US has lost its credibility. We will have to earn back the trust we have lost. Americans will always fight when the war is just. But, we owe it to every soldier willing to die to make sure their sacrifice is worthy of the fight. Let's invest at home for once.