...the old-fashioned way. This goes out in tomorrow's mail.
Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler
1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
In all the debate about reducing the federal budget, I hear little discussion of the cost of our endless wars. Over the next ten years, American overseas contingency operations—our new name for war—will cost upwards of $1.2 trillion. General Petraeus and others talk of a generational war so this serious budgetary impact is unlikely to diminish unless Americans make it so.
Even worse, this spending supports policies that harm the United States. Ten years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have not diminished the threat of terrorism one bit. The US is hopelessly enmeshed in an Afghan civil war that has no military solution and would be far better mediated by the peoples of that region on their own. America and the world can offer support in many ways but military occupation is not one that works in that part of the world. Our interests—including the dreaded “terrorist with a weapon of mass destruction”–can be far better secured without boots on the ground.
The funds we are now pouring into these foreign military operations are a theft from the American people. The more than $1 trillion spent since 2001 would have built a great deal of needed infrastructure, supported many jobs and boosted our civilian economy. Instead, it has been squandered in pursuit of often unclear and dubious objectives. For this reason, I find it disgraceful that Congress is not seriously questioning the need for spending more than $150 billion annually to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The wars have failed—at great cost—to secure any real American interest. If you are serious about looking for genuine reductions in the federal budget, you would end these costly failures.
You can also find over $960 billion in savings over the next 10 years by enacting the recommendations of the Sustainable Defense Task Force, issued in June 2010. The annual savings from these recommendations more than cover your demand for $61 billion in federal budget cuts in 2011 with half again as much added.
Altogether, I have identified over $2 trillion in savings for the next decade. I recommend that you read the task force report and introduce an amendment to implement its recommendations. Then turn your attention to removing American forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
You will be a true fiscal hero.
This is part of Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation's "Bring Our Billions Home" campaign. We are committed to writing our representatives monthly to remind them of the ongoing cost of these wars.