1.2 Trillion. Goddam. Dollars.

On the “that malignant fool George W. Bush” theme again:

Think Progress has a piece titled “The $1.2 Trillion Trap: What America Gave Up For 10 Years Of War Since 9/11.

Nearly ten years after the United States sent our military forces into Afghanistan, our country has spent $1.2 trillion engaging in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the National Priorities Project (NPP). The wars are expected to cost much more than that by their conclusion, with some estimates ranging up to $3 trillion for the Iraq war alone.

By spending this much money on wars that ended up being America’s longest in history, the United States in some ways fell into Bin Laden’s trap. This money could’ve been used in ways that would’ve invested in America — securing access to health care, a decent education, and infrastructure for alternative energy. Using NPP metrics, ThinkProgress has assembled ten alternative policies that the United States could’ve pursued instead with this money that has been spent on the wars so far:

With $1.2 trillion, the U.S. could have done the following … every year for TEN YEARS:

•  PROVIDED 63.3 MILLION SCHOLARSHIPS FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
•  GIVEN 58.9 MILLION CHILDREN LOW-INCOME HEALTH CARE
•  GIVEN 23.6 MILLION PEOPLE ACCESS TO LOW-INCOME HEALTHCARE
•  PROVIDED 20.68 MILLION STUDENTS WITH PELL GRANTS WORTH $5,500
•  PROVIDED 15.12 MILLION HEAD START SLOTS FOR CHILDREN
•  PROVIDED VA CARE FOR 14.7 MILLION MILITARY VETERANS
•  HIRED 2.01 MILLION FIREFIGHTERS
•  HIRED 1.76 MILLION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
•  HIRED 1.73 MILLION POLICE OFFICERS
•  RETROFITTED 69.4 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS FOR WIND POWER
•  RETROFITTED 26 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS FOR SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY

For $1.2 trillion, we could have fed the world’s hungry. Done something about population. Saved the mountain gorillas and whales. Cured a dozen major diseases. Built solar collectors in space to beam down virtually unlimited energy.

Instead, we killed people. Set up a network of secret prisons. Used torture. Assaulted freedoms in our own country. And sent young men and women of America off to die and be horribly injured.

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