As the nation prepares to commemorate Veterans Day, President Obama has authorized the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq. The plan will more than double the current U.S. force in Iraq and will reportedly cost $5.6 billion. That's enough to operate the Chicago Public School system, including the hiring back of all laid-off teachers and custodial staff.
Among the hidden costs
After all the parades and football game cheers have ended, Iraqi and Afghan war vets are still dying from suicide upon their return home at a much higher rate -- more than 22 a day -- then on the battle field.
More than half of the 2.6 million veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars struggle with physical and mental health problems stemming from their service,
This is no longer "Bush's war". It's Obama's. What is he thinking? The real cost will be paid in human lives in a war that's has no end, no victory, only victims -- including vets. They are returning home to communities with few well-paying jobs, deteriorating schools, and inadequate health care for them and their families.
Matthew Hoh, is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. He is a former Marine and State Department official who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over U.S. policy in September 2009. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, he served in Iraq.
He tells Democracy Now's Amy Goodman:
I think, in the United States, scratching their head and wondering: What are we doing? What does the United States government really think it’s going to accomplish by putting more American troops into the middle of the Iraqi civil war and into the middle of the Syrian civil war, particularly coming off of 13 years of war in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Somalia, in Yemen, etc.? So, my response, Amy, is more or less the same as most people’s, of a—very concerned and, you know, lack of a better phrase, this is crazy.Support the troops. Bring 'em home. Provide counseling, health care, school and job opportunities at a living wage.