Research done by Brown University spotlights the actual cost of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria totals around $6.4 trillion. This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars, which will add an estimated $6.5 trillion by 2050. Since 2001, over $2.5 trillion has been spent in Afghanistan alone. $1 trillion went to the Overseas Contingency Operations budget for the Department of Defense, and around $530 billion of that is estimated interest payments on the money borrowed to fund the war.
Yet, Afghanistan still has one of the smallest economies worldwide, with 90 percent of the population living on less than $2 a day.
To place these numbers in perspective—if the US gave out $6.5 trillion to the people of Afghanistan with a population around 38 million, each person would have over $171,000. A single Afghani would go from less than $2 per day to $23 a day for 20 years (the length of the war). That’s a 1,050 percent increase in wealth for 90 percent of the population.
Let’s say that $6.5 trillion was doled out here in the US. That’s enough money to fix every decrepit bridge, put an end to homelessness, and still have over $6 trillion left to spend. This version of the United States would be virtually unrecognizable.
It raises the question, “Where did all that money go?” After all, the taxpayers foot the bill for the unprecedented amount of money spent over the past 20 years.
According to The Intercept, the top five defense contractors—Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics—and their shareholders profited off of the war in Afghanistan. “Defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War.”
The Intercept broke down what the returns would be on $10,000 invested from Sept. 2001 to 2021 to give perspective on how profitable the 20-year war was for these contractors.
Basket of Top Five Contractor Stocks
- Total return: 872.94%
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase ($2,000 of each stock) today: $97,294.80
- Total return: 974.97 %
- Annualized return: 12.67 %
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase today: $107,588.47
- Board includes: Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr. (former vice chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff), Stayce D. Harris (former inspector general, Air Force), John M. Richardson (former navy chief of Naval Operations)
- Total return: 331.49 %
- Annualized return: 7.62 %
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase today: $43,166.92
- Board includes: Ellen Pawlikowski (retired Air Force general), James Winnefeld Jr. (retired Navy admiral), Robert Work (former deputy secretary of defense)
- Total return: 1,235.60 %
- Annualized return: 13.90 %
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase today: $133,559.21
- Board includes: Bruce Carlson (retired Air Force general), Joseph Dunford Jr. (retired Marine Corps general)
- Total return: 625.37%
- Annualized return: 10.46 %
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase today: $72,515.58
- Board includes: Rudy deLeon (former deputy secretary of defense), Cecil Haney (retired Navy admiral), James Mattis (former secretary of defense and former Marine Corps general), Peter Wall (retired British general)
- Total return: 1,196.14 %
- Annualized return: 13.73 %
- $10,000 2001 stock purchase today: $129,644.84
- Board includes: Gary Roughead (retired Navy admiral), Mark Welsh III (retired Air Force general)
“I guarantee you, when war becomes that profitable, you’re going to see more of it,” said former CIA contractor and academic Chalmers Johnson.
Waste and Corruption
The average cost for a small-scale gas station in the US costs approximately $500,000. For a medium-scale station, it’s about $2.5 million. For a large-scale station, it can cost as much as $7.5 million.
Yet, according to NBC, “nearly $43 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money was spent on building a gas station in Afghanistan — 140 times more than it should have cost, according to a government watchdog.”
“More than $300 million a year went to “ghost” soldiers in Afghan security forces who didn’t exist or show up, while active duty soldiers across the country have gone unpaid for months,” Lee Fang tweeted on Aug. 17, along with a link to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The full SIGAR report details the substantial amount of waste of American taxpayer money. “MONEY SPENT, NOT IMPACT ACHIEVED, BECAME THE PRIMARY METRIC OF SUCCESS,” the report states.
In perhaps a fitting conclusion to the war, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was “welcomed” into the United Arab Emirates on “humanitarian grounds,” the UAE government confirmed Wednesday. Ghani fled Kabul without an announcement or known destination. As the Taliban seized the presidential palace and declared the war’s conclusion, Ghani said he fled to prevent “a flood of bloodshed.” He reportedly took with him $169 million in cash, according to BBC journalist Kawoon Khamoosh.
Man Arrested for Looting Was Out on Bail for Grisly Crime
Philadelphia, a city under siege, has witnessed the arrest of over 50 individuals in a two-day crime spree, causing the demise of numerous businesses. Among those arrested is Kenneth Frye, a suspect in a recent burglary who was out on bail connected to a significant murder case from the previous year.
The city’s police department apprehended Frye for looting a Fine Wine & Good Spirits store located in West Philadelphia. Previously, Frye, who once worked as a bouncer, was charged in connection to the death of Eric Pope. It’s reported by FOX 29 that he fatally punched Pope outside Tabu Lounge in Center City. Initially charged with 3rd-degree murder, a motion has been filed by the District Attorney’s office to reduce the charge to Involuntary Murder.
This wave of criminal activity, spurred by social media, resulted in numerous arrests, involving both adults and juveniles, and is just a snapshot of the broader chaos infiltrating the city.
Charges ranging from Rioting to Burglary and Disorderly Conduct have been filed against the arrested individuals, with many arrests occurring at notable establishments such as Lululemon, T-Mobile, and Walgreens.
- Aauanyae Haynes, a Black female, 19
- Sabree Young, a Black female, 31
- Steven Wells, a Black male, 26
- Traqwan Word, a Black male, 24
- Lisa Talley, a Black female, 34
- Yasmine Fields, a Black female, 23
- Kenneth Frye, a Black male, 24
- Kyreek Leak, a Black male, 21
- Reginal Alexander, Black male, 33
- Gabriel Gines, a Hispanic male, 23
- Alena Gigliotti, a White female, 26
- Petra Gonzalez, a White female, 24
- Jessica Blake, a Black female, 37
- Semaj Suber, a Black female, 29
- Aniya Taylor, a Black female, 21
- Hartzog Mashaad, a Black male, 27
- Isis Morgan, a Black female, 23
- Khalilah Green, a Black female, 21
- Ernest McCollum, a Black male, 31
- Jessica Arnold-Coit, a Black female, 30
- Quanika McQueen, a Black female, 31
- Denzel Walker, a Black male, 27
- Mikal Reed, a Black male, 26
- Tyheed Hill, a Black male, 26
- Anthony Abner, a Black male, 35
Per Fox News, three juveniles — a 14-year-old Black male, a 16-year-old Black male and a 14-year-old Black female — were also arrested for Rioting, Burglary, Disorderly Conduct, and Theft at a Lululemon store, according to the report.
This spree of destruction and lawlessness is indicative of the escalating disorder in the city, exemplified by the arrest of Frye, who, despite his involvement in a serious murder case, was back on the streets only to be implicated in further criminal activity.
The city remains in a state of turmoil as businesses struggle to recover, and residents live in the shadow of relentless criminal activity.
One Third of the Entire Country’s Homeless Population Lives in This State
The staggering issue of homelessness looms large over California, with the state hosting nearly a third of the nation’s rising homeless population, which stands at 582,462 people according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the bustling city of San Francisco, Anthony, a former restaurant worker who has lived in a tent for three years, is just one of over 170,000 unhoused Californians.
The city’s inflated living cost, with average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being roughly $3,000 a month, starkly contrasts with its minimum wage of $18.07 an hour, leaving many like Nelly Sorto, a full-time cleaner and a mother of two, struggling to break into the rental market.
Anthony, a former chef, has experienced the vicious cycle of homelessness firsthand, stating, “Once you get behind, you just can’t get up,” to ABC News.
The economic downturn during the pandemic left many like him, striving to find a permanent home and bouncing from street to street as city officials clear their encampments.
This visible homelessness crisis is often attributed to several factors, including the high cost of living related to the tech boom and mental health issues experienced by many individuals.
Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said to ABC News, “California has systemic issues in terms of its housing affordability… So, what we need to do in California is really have a massive investment to offset that difference between incomes and rent.”
The rising number of encampments has sparked frustration across the state, with residents like Jeanne Vasquez expressing concern over safety and the declining quality of life in their areas.
In July, Vasquez conveyed her discontent to ABC Los Angeles, citing instances of broken glass, needles on the ground, and inappropriate behaviors exhibited by individuals dealing with mental illnesses.
To combat this escalating issue, President Joe Biden announced an investment of an extra $3 billion focusing on support services including rental assistance, legal help, and job search support, with a particular emphasis on veterans.
However, GOP presidential hopefuls like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have utilized the grim reality of the homelessness crisis in blue states to critique Democratic leadership.
Trump has been vocal about his stance on “urban camping,” promising to ban it and offering rehabilitation options for violators, as mentioned in one of his campaign ads.
However, Friedenbach argues that such policies essentially criminalize the homeless and advocates for a more comprehensive approach involving the federal government investing in housing vouchers, long-term housing subsidies, and reforms in mental health and substance use treatment systems.
She believes that this crisis is a “manufactured issue” created by a “lack of investment” and calls for active listening from the federal government to truly understand and address the needs of the unhoused people.
Despite the relentless efforts of San Francisco outreach teams, many unhoused individuals either decline offers of shelter or already have shelter but cannot be compelled to come inside, as per a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.
While some, like Anthony, have been offered a place to stay, the glaring reality remains that thousands are still on the streets yearning for a place to call home, with at least 350 unhoused individuals still on the waitlist for housing in San Francisco.
The pervasive crisis necessitates immediate, profound measures and substantial investments to bridge the substantial gap between incomes and rent, and to address the systemic issues contributing to the surge in homelessness.
Parents in Fear as Prowler in White Van Targets Children
New London, Connecticut, is in a state of heightened alert as reports emerge of a man attempting to lure children into his white van.
The New London Police Department, in conjunction with the New London School District, is rigorously working to identify the suspect, whose latest sighting occurred near Bennie Dover Middle School.
The suspect is described as either White or Hispanic with black hair and a beard, which is either black or gray. The vehicle he’s been spotted in has tinted windows.
Residents of New London are understandably rattled.
“It makes me terrified; it makes me sick to my stomach,” expressed Mystique Elefante in a conversation with WFSB.com.
With an infant daughter of her own, Elefante vocalized her fears, stating she’s “afraid for my daughter to grow up,” amidst such unsettling reports.
For New London Police Capt. Matt Galante, the situation demands immediate attention and stringent precautionary measures. Galante advises students to maintain groups for safety and to vocally alarm others if danger is sensed.
“Scream, yell, make as loud a sound as you possibly can. Scream for help,” he told WFSB. “There are strength in numbers. We encourage kids walking home from school to walk together.”
This alarming incident has prompted a community-wide call to vigilance. Capt. Galante emphasized the urgency of alertness within the community and the role of every individual in maintaining a watchful eye.
“We wanted to get the message out to parents and the community at large that this may be happening within our community and for people to be vigilant and look for these types of events,” he mentioned to NBC Connecticut.
The New London Police Department has urged anyone with relevant information to come forward, allowing for anonymous tips to be sent to the New London Tips 411 system.
The involvement of the community is crucial in aiding the ongoing investigation to ensure the safety of the young residents of New London, as law enforcement intensifies its efforts to locate the prowler and his vehicle.
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