by Ron Paul: The
War That’s Not a War
National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sparked a political frenzy
recently when he alleged that President Obama is responsible for
the war in Afghanistan and questioned the prospects of a U.S. victory
in the region.
in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing.
This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted
or wanted to engage in, but it was the president who was trying
to be cute by half by building a script demonizing Iraq, while saying
the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, if he is such
a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s
the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"
prompted several calls for Steele’s resignation among Republicans
and conservative pundits.
however, have at least one defender: Ron Paul, an outspoken Republican
representative from Texas and a former presidential candidate. Asked
about the comments in a July 5, 2010, CNN interview, Paul talked
about what he sees as widespread public disapproval of the war,
including its detrimental financial impact on the U.S. "We’re
spending $1 trillion a year on our foreign policy," Paul commented.
our attention, so we decided to look into it.
sent us an article written by Robert Higgs, a scholar at The Independent
Institute, a libertarian-leaning economic research organization.
that looking at how much money goes to the Department of Defense
is insufficient. One also has to include the appropriations for
the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons program, the Department
of State, the Department of Veterans affairs, and the interest payments
attributable to past debt-financed defense spending, among other
expenses. Crunching the numbers for 2009, Higgs came up with a total
that’s slightly over $1 trillion.
numerous defense budget experts on the issue. They all agreed that
it depends largely on how one defines "foreign policy."
Changing the definition means changing the programs that one includes
in the calculation, which impacts the total amount.
from the Center for Defense Information sent us a table which details
the "U.S. security" expenses for 2010. The total comes
out to $1021.3 billion, slightly over $1 trillion. The calculation
includes the interest on the Department of Defense Retiree Health
Care Fund and on debt-financed defense spending.
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.