Starting from 2001, the US has been spending $32 million per hour on war.
The United States has spent about $6 trillion on combat operations over the past 20 years, according to Brown University studies. If the warfare ends by 2023, researchers estimate the total cost will be $6.7 trillion at least, not counting the interest on debt.
In total, almost half a million people have died as a result of the wars.
The cost of 87 major programs for the purchase of weapons and military equipment conducted by the US Department of Defense exceeded $2 trillion in 2018, according to the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR), which detail the implementation of major defense purchases. The combined cost of all procurement programs was determined by the Pentagon to be over $2 trillion. This is equivalent to almost 10% of the annual gross domestic product of the United States ($21.3 trillion).
Trying to justify such exorbitant spending on the army, the US military and political elites actively promote their interests, advertising the national armed forces as the main fighting force. Recently, Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that ‘there are no forces today capable of resisting an attack by the US Army.’ Unsurprisingly, the Department of Defense (DoD) desires even more money, although there is no logical explanation as to why the most powerful army on the planet is in need of improvement when everyone else is clearly lagging behind.
But what is the real face of the US Army today and how does the public feel about it?
Global Research correctly remarked that, despite the largest military budget in the world (five times greater than in six other countries), the highest number of military bases in the world (over 180) and the most expensive military-industrial complex, the United States has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.
Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of studies on a wide range of topics. Concerning the current problems of the US military, Pew studies note that most American veterans and the majority of the general US public believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting. Over 60% of the American public is convinced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not paid off, when the costs and benefits are weighed. Responding to questions about the US military campaign in Syria, 55% of veterans and 58% of the American public said that this campaign failed to pay off as well.
Frustration with the country’s military policy has now become a big problem among active US servicemen, veterans, and even among young soldiers who haven’t participated in real combat.
The incautious question ‘How has serving impacted you?’ posted by the Pentagon’s official Twitter account, has revealed the deep chasm of the US military’s problems. So deep, in fact, that the Pentagon had to urgently close and remove a huge number of subsequent replies, most of which turned out to be very depressing in nature. US Army soldiers and officers shared the shocking consequences of their service, including drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders and nightmares – some admitting they had repeatedly wanted to commit suicide.
Currently there are up to 19 million retired veterans ‘in the most belligerent democratic country in the world.’ Every day, about 20 of them commit suicide. The causes of suicide cited by experts are diverse, the main ones being depressions, nervous breakdowns, spiritual and psychological devastation coupled with guilt for killing innocent people, post-traumatic stress disorder, increased military operations, medical abuse, and personal financial problems. Social media are full of horrific stories about how injured soldiers weren’t provided necessary medical attention during military operations, which drove them to shooting themselves in the head. Meanwhile junior army members state that they are basically expendable for their commanders, and all of them combined present an endless means of earning money for the highest elite.
Suicides are rampant among all the branches of US troops, and their rate is increasing. US officials deliberately hide the horrific statistics of suicides among military personnel, seriously concerned about the increase in their number since they negatively affect the future of the ‘most powerful armed forces in the world.’ To date, suicide is the second leading cause of death among members of the US military.
Another extremely troubling statistic was revealed by experts from the American publishing house McClatchy. They studied the health of the US servicemen who had taken part in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001—2015. They have been literally mowed down by cancer, which is confirmed by the sudden increase in the number of cancer patients in military hospitals in Virginia. As it turned out, a significant cause of the disease is toxic rocket fuel, which was used to massively burn garbage and waste near military bases. In addition, it turned out that the fire foam used to extinguish these fires also causes cancer. It was quite often that US soldiers had to dispose of garbage and waste in war zones, including human corpses and animal carcasses. The Pentagon has not yet commented on the finding and is in no hurry to grant applications for disability benefits; out of 11,000 applications only 2000 have been ‘lucky’ so far.
The Heritage Foundation analysts published a report which shows that the US Army is at its limits. One curious fact is significant: the conclusion about the decline of efficiency and combat capability of the US Army came not from Russian or Chinese sources, but from American analysts, which is further proof of the systemic problems in the Pentagon. The Heritage Foundation analysts agree that right now, considering the current state of the US Army, simultaneous participation in several wars is leading to its noticeable overexertion.
Taking this into account, Washington can only be advised to tread more carefully on the international arena, avoid provoking armed conflicts that can lead to severe military defeats for the US Army and result in sizable human losses, both among current servicemen and veterans.
In the words of the Spanish newspaper El Pais, “The Americans pose a much greater danger to themselves than the Islamists, North Koreans, Russians, Houthis and all those who comprise the US-declared ‘axis of evil’ do.”
Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.