As Congress reconvenes after a very generous 5-week paid vacation courtesy of beleaguered American taxpayers’ largesse, their first order of business is passing a spending bill for fiscal 2016. Of course, part and parcel of that process will include religious Republicans attempting to defund Planned Parenthood because fetus, hatred of women, and that “bizarre, inbred abortion posing as Christianity.” The other major obstacle besides attempting to control women is the Republican predilection to maintaining sequestration’s austerity spending levels for domestic programs while increasing funding for the military way beyond the 2015 levels. As a reminder, the 2015 budget included approximately 60 percent for war and about 40 percent for domestic spending; during peacetime.
This is important because although America is officially in peacetime, Americans are still paying dearly for George W. Bush’s war of aggression against innocent Iraqi Muslims at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is beyond dispute that there is a clear and present threat to innocent civilians in the Middle East from Islamic State (IS, ISIL, or ISIS) extremists, but it is also beyond refute that without Bush’s “crusade” against Muslims in Iraq, there would be no such thing as the Islamic State. In fact, there would be no such thing as a “civil war” in Syria if America did not assist Iraqi Shias drive millions of Iraqi Sunnis, Baathists, and Saddam’s military commanders out of Iraq and into Syria. In brief, George W. Bush and company created ISIS and since America created the mess, it is unfortunate, but it is its responsibility to clean it up.
Even though Bush’s religious crusade against Islam will eventually cost Americans well over $6 trillion dollars according to conservative estimates made in 2011, that figure will surely increase drastically due to interest payments on borrowed money, the expense to care for thousands of permanently injured American soldiers for the rest of their lives, and the continuing military cost to deal with George W. Bush’s special creation ISIS. Last week some concerned Americans outraged at the decrepit state of the nation’s infrastructure posed a valid question; “How much is it costing taxpayers for each air strike against known ISIS targets?” The figure is staggering to say the least; particularly when that number is multiplied by the increasing number of isolated, single-target air strikes that occur much more frequently than any American realizes.
It is important to note that the cost to battle ISIS is still an Iraq War expense. What is curious is why every citizen in American is not outraged every single time a Republican, or Bush relative running for president, claims invading Iraq was a great idea; an idea that the preponderance of Republicans and some Israeli Democrats are clamoring to repeat.
Just to get an idea of how much an unnecessary Bush war of aggression is still costing American taxpayers it is useful to consider the cost of a “typical” single American air strike against extremists Bush created in Syria and Norther Iraq. Republicans can make any bovine excrement claim they want, but there was no Islamic State, or ISIS, until after America invaded and occupied Iraq; the nation that had no part in terrorism against the United States.
According to a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) report, “Estimating the Cost of Operations Against ISIL,” American taxpayers spend approximately $2.5 million for one single air-strike against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Included in that cost is intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance most of which is provided by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); wear and tear on either one F-15, F-14, F/A-18 that will carry 3 weapons and drop only two on one target. Fuel costs for the actual strike vehicle plus fuel for in-flight refueling vehicles. The $2.5 million cost escalates very quickly if, for example, the number of ‘strikes’ increases minimally where another Navy aircraft carrier is needed which adds at least $200,000 per strike.
That $2.5 million figure for one isolated airstrike is, according to CSBA, for what the military regards as a “low-intensity operation” that does not include multiple aircraft striking multiple targets during one air strike. If multiple strikes are necessary, which they most certainly have been as ISIL has grown in numbers and expanded its range of influence, the expense rises exponentially due to the “logistics chain getting much thicker as targets increase.” The military says that like in many commercial enterprises, there is no such thing as “economy of scale” in military actions that are evolving and growing; translation, there is no discount for attacking more targets with more hardware.
It is stunning, really, that mainstream media is not reporting the cost of American military action against an extremist organization created by George W. Bush’s folly and “crusade” against Islam; particularly since most Republicans and all the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency are calling for increased military action in the Middle East as well as increased funding for the military. Last year this country spent inordinately more, 15 to 20 percent, for the military than it did for domestic operations and it still is not enough for Republicans.
Although $2.5 million for one military fighter jet to bomb one target may seem like a paltry sum of money in the grand scheme of federal spending in one year, and a cost the country should bear to clean up its previous war criminal president’s own mess. However, when one calculates the increasing number of air strikes to deal with George W. Bush’s creation while Republicans claim there is no money to help poverty-wage workers, hungry children, or homeless Veterans, or to repair even one of the over 70,000 bridges rated as “dangerously deficient,” it is safe to say this country exists for war.
It is true George W. Bush is no longer in office, or where he belongs in a penitentiary for war crimes against humanity, but Americans are still, and will continue, paying for his administration’s war of aggression against Islam. Americans will also continue being subjected to Republican fear mongering to justify increasing military spending during peacetime while Republican slash and burn every aspect of the federal government.
Sadly, Republicans are going to continue having a fair measure of success because they are doing a remarkable job distracting Americans with the fetus, the immigrant, the ISIS, the minority and the newest distraction evangelical martyrs. Hopefully, President Obama is not distracted and can possibly resist the temptation to increase spending for bombs with his veto pen and “encourage” Republicans to allot half of fiscal year 2016 spending on America, but there is no use holding one’s breath because in “structurally violent America,” war sells even during peacetime.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.