Dear Editor: John Russo (Readers’ Forum, Dec. 8) expresses opposition to free college education. While he is referring to a NYS expense, he raises an issue that is now also in discussion on the federal level. The same day that I read Mr. Russo’s letter, I read an article by CNBC’s National Security Reporter, Amanda Macias, about a report by Neta Crawford who is Co-Director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University. The report reveals that:
- The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $5.9 trillion since they began in 2001.
- The figure reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of war is not borne by the Defense Department alone.
- The report also finds that more than 480,000 people have died from the wars and more than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of fighting. Additionally, another 10 million people have been displaced due to violence.
- That total is almost $2 trillion more than all federal government spending during the recently completed 2017-18 fiscal year. (Amanda Macias CNBC National security reporter.)
These stats are only about this small region of the world. The overall U.S. military budget is much larger. For example, the U.S. has committed over one trillion dollars to upgrade our nuclear weapons arsenal. These weapons of mass destruction have the capacity to end all life on the planet.
How is it we cannot afford free college education, living wages, affordable housing, universal health care, environmental protection, etc., but we can afford to wage war; maintain, increase, and upgrade our military might; kill, maim, and destroy. God tells us, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Why are so many willing to choose death?