Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: "Wars Leave Crumbling Infrastructure at Home for US", by Clifford A. Kiracofe.

Posted 9 years ago on April 10, 2012, 9:29 p.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Wars Leave Crumbling Infrastructure at Home for US.

by Clifford A. Kiracofe.

April 10, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ ) ---


While politicians in Washington recklessly call for bombing Syria and Iran, they ignore the economic costs of failed US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Such costs call into question the condition of the US economy and are not without significant social and political implications. They also call into question the competence of leadership elites in the US, not to mention fundamental issues of governance involving the preservation of constitutional democracy.

In the past, the US paid for its wars through increased taxes and the sale of war bonds. The recent wars, however, have been paid for mostly through borrowing. Thus, there is an adverse economic impact with respect to the increased national debt, to the increased budget deficits, and to the upward pressure on interest rates.

Ongoing analysis of economic, human, and social costs by the Eisenhower Study Group, a team of US academics, estimates these wars have cost between $3 trillion and $4 trillion through 2011.

In addition, there are additional significant macroeconomic consequences of war spending relating to infrastructure and jobs.

With respect to infrastructure, investment in defense displaces public investment in basic infrastructure. Private sector productivity is negatively impacted as a result.

Core public economic infrastructure includes transportation, roads, utilities, water systems, and sewerage. Other key non-military infrastructure would include that for education such as schools.

In terms of jobs, the report of the study team indicates that public spending for non-military purposes creates more jobs than bloated unnecessary wartime spending. Examples of non-military sectors are construction, education, and health care.

The US national infrastructure is disintegrating. Much of it was created after World War II and some even before. On a national basis, bridges, roads, waterways, canals and locks, and other public infrastructure are in bad condition and getting worse according to experts in civil engineering. Yet Washington's bellicose politicians have squandered trillions on unnecessary wars and now want still further military action against Syria and Iran.

Such irresponsible politicians think in terms of their next election rather than the future of their country. They serve themselves and not the people.

So how did the US get into its current predicament?

One explanation points to the failure of US leadership elites to adapt to the changing global correlation of forces after the end of the Cold War in 1991.

At that time, clear-minded experts advised preparing for the inevitable emergence of a multipolar world.

Thus, they argued, the US should completely revise its national strategy by focusing on strengthening its economy and its diplomacy.

They foresaw an era of economic competition with other major powers which would have increasing weight in the emerging dynamic and multipolar strategic environment.

They also recommended a return to a vigorous peacetime diplomacy which would best serve the national interest by fostering a revived United Nations system, by contributing to an equitable and just transformation of the international system, and by fostering cooperation among the world's major powers to meet the common challenges of many pressing global issues.

These experts were opposed by advocates of a triumphalist, unipolar world view that called for US global hegemony.

While the administration of former President Bill Clinton did promote a stronger economy and reduced military spending, its diplomacy did not properly adjust to new circumstances.

Instead, for example, under hegemonic influence, Washington went outside the United Nations and pushed NATO into a war against Serbia.

The administration that followed chose the path of global hegemony. The late Lieutenant General William E. Odom called the resulting Iraq war "the greatest strategic mistake in US history."

Odom, a former head of the powerful National Security Agency, was a most well informed strategic thinker not to mention an honorable and patriotic man.

But has Washington learned from its strategic mistakes? Apparently not, judging from the present political jingoists, still blindly advocating yet more war in the always volatile Middle East.


fiat lux ...


The author is a professor at the Department of Politics, Washington and Lee University, and a former senior professional staff member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This article was first published at Global Times ( http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/704082/Wars-leave-crumbling-infrastructure-at-home-for-US.aspx )

[Article copied verbatim under "Fair Use" from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31042.htm ]



Read the Rules
[-] 5 points by TommyNYC (730) 8 years ago

With all of the valid anti-war sentiment, its crucial to remind ourselves of the importance of investing in infrastructure. Many will point to our war debt and decry any spending, while in actuality austerity is the worst possible choice for the moment.

Not only does a society need infrastructure to flourish, but an ailing economy needs centralized job creation to recover. History has proved it, although trolls will deny it.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

WoW Dude !!! Thanx for that !! I kinda forgot about this 'forum-post' & your points are sound !

respice ; adspice ; prospice ...

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 8 years ago

Hey, no prob and thanks. I feel like the libertarians keep clinging to some of the anti-war posts as a way of derailing the real stuff that they oppose, like solving the economic crisis and unemployment.

[-] 3 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

I really oppose war

I won't claim libertarian though

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 8 years ago

I oppose war too. But the central concern of OWS was never war, otherwise is wouldn't have started in the financial district.

War spending=bad.

Infrastructure spending=good.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

Agree 100%. Resolve the economic inequity. Support/revive the anti war movement. I remember it before Pres Obama took office, They went to sleep. Wake 'em up. No more war.!

I need to see military budget cut and redirected to the massive infrastructure needs.

I need to see a real progressive tax system implemented with a 90% rate for income over a million dollars.

I want real wall st fin reform. Re instate Glass Steagall.

Let me stop rambling.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

"Crumbling America Has a $2.2 Trillion Repair Bill", by Rupert Cornwell :

The US needs to update its roads, railways and airports – but recession and a shift to the right have put big infrastructure projects in jeopardy.

You're very welcome 'TNYC' & though the above article (from a UK newspaper) is nearly two years old - the arguments still hold true.

multum in parvo ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 8 years ago

hey - now i see you everywhere - making intelligent comments - what were you doing before. just reading and waiting for......

[-] 3 points by NVPHIL (664) 8 years ago

Just imagine where we would be as a nation if we spent the 3-4 trillion on infrastructure and research instead of wars. From what I understand that doesn't even consider the hundreds of military bases we have scattered around the world.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

Your point is sound and indeed, fundamental. "Imagination" however, is increasingly frowned upon by those who would purport to rule over us.

multum in parvo ...

[-] 1 points by NVPHIL (664) 8 years ago

And the suppression of imagination has hurt on every front from education to the economy.

[-] -3 points by DrSteinWithaker (-17) 8 years ago

Passing along conspiracy theories is not imaginative. It's delusional and an insult to the families of 911 victims and the dead themselves. Conspiracy Crusaders are an insult to this forum as they go along breaking the forum rules. Your Conspiracy Crusaders mini boss days are nearing their end.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

'Tr@shy' : Your hysterical response is noted & the thread you are referring to is :

In America today and increasingly throughout the Western world, alternative or actual facts and different or true explanations have been relegated to the realm of kookiness. Only people who believe lies are socially approved and accepted as patriotic citizens.

If you believe that America was attacked by Muslim terrorists and is susceptible to future attacks, then a “war on terror” and a domestic police state to root out terrorists become necessary to make Americans safe. The idea that a domestic police state and open-ended war might be more dangerous threats to Americans than terrorists is an impermissible thought.

Consider closely 'Trashy' country whose population has been trained to accept the government’s word and to shun those who question it is a country without liberty in its future.

Report anything you consider inappropriate & mods/admin will take action if required. You attempts at bullying & desire to lead the 'thought police' on this forum are revealing in themselves.

temet nosce ...

[-] -1 points by DrSteinWithaker (-17) 8 years ago

Conspiracy theorists insult the families of the victims and the dead themselves by passing off lies that have been debunked a million times over in over 10 years. You should be ashamed of yourself for breaking the forum rules to keep the 911 myths alive which are used to sell books and make money on the backs of 911 victims.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

Report anything you consider inappropriate & mods/admin will take action if required. You attempts at bullying and deep desire to lead the 'thought police' on this forum are extremely revealing in themselves.

temet nosce...

[-] -2 points by DrSteinWithaker (-17) 8 years ago

You profit from the dead. Your delusions lead to the most despicable actions. Take your medication, there's no need to live in the clutches of schizophrenia.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

'Tr@shy' : Your projection of your own now self-evident psychopathology is the most interesting aspect of your words here. Your ridiculous accusations and desire to keep bumping these threads has all the indications of delusionary state and obsessive compulsive behaviour. Talk of meds is a further sign and mirror into your own reality. You & your multiple personalities are unravelling & I feel kind sorry for you.

cura te ipsum ...

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago
[-] 2 points by Shule (2638) 8 years ago

What is most dangerous to any economy is when money gets sucked out of it. An economy will deflate like a ballon. And nothing is sucking money out of our economy faster than those dang wars in the Middle-East. Rumor has it they're flying in planes filled with pallets of cash into that not so secret secret base in Jordan to pay off all those allies they're bribing so that they can be their allies. Only thing is the allies are stealing the money before they can pay them off, so they keep sending more plane loads of cash.

And I'm sure you all heard about all those marines and other military they're sending off to Libya. Seems like they haven't learned anything from the first 9-11.

[-] 2 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 9 years ago

Large numbers of Americans have had their lives permanantly ruined by The Bush Wars.An additional large group has had their lives semi-permanantly ruined by the mortgage fiasco.Many people face dire poverty in retirement because their pensions have disappeared.Another group will spend their lives behind the 8 ball because of the ill effects of long term unemployment.People who borrowed alot of money to go to college will be impoverished for decades because of the paucity of good paying jobs.Soon we will be seeing an abnormally large group of people who would go to college in a normal country but can't afford to do so in America.Almost all of these people will have no health insurance and will become truly lost souls if they incur any medical or dental bills.Right now it might seem like nobody cares,but the number of people who live without hope in America is large right now,and growing.An economic recovery for the 1% can't stop the idea that another world is possible.ATBTRASHY

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 9 years ago

Lets be clear about the objectives of the wars we have fought in the recent past and are planning to fight:

Iraq: Privatization of oil and to perpetuate the petrodollar.

Afghanistan: Airbases at Bagram, Shindand and Kandahar.

Libya: Privatization of oil and to perpetuate the petrodollar.

Syria: Isolation of Iran.

Iran: Privatization of oil, perpetuation of the petrodollar and removal of govt friendly to China and Russia, Israels fear of Irans conventional weapons destroying and disseminating Israeli stockpiles of biological/chemical and nuclear warfare materials.

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 8 years ago

cant spend what you dont have

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

Where does Money come from ? What is it ? Who 'creates' it ? & How ?

fiat lux ...

[-] 3 points by Shule (2638) 8 years ago

There is this printing press in D.C. which makes the money. I've seen it. It prints real fast. That's the problem.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

If that machine slowed down, do you think we, as nation, could honor our debt to foreign nations? I ask this question because at this juncture, I believe running that machine at full throttle is the only way we can honor our federal debts, especially considering the political recalcitrance our nation engenders.

Unless you believe a federal default is what is needed to give the majority of people a say in government, I don't see why you feel there is a problem with the printing press running really fast.

Inflation makes the GNP go up relative to the nation's debt. Right? From a nationalistic point of view, not a personal one, the Fed is doing what's best for the nation. NO?

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 8 years ago

Well yes, sure, printing money is like heroin. Eventually it catches up to you. All that money that you got, ends up being nothing.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

Yeah, you are probably right. Maybe there should be a balanced budget amendment added to the Constitution.

Your analogy was apt. When democracies are given credit cards, It's almost like getting a person hooked on heroin, lol. But because we have an electorate with a platinum credit card, i see the inflation of money as a fail safe against reckless financial decisions made by us humans.

I mean, we like to point fingers about who racked up the credit limit on the plastic, but i'd say we all bear some blame. the investors who invested in the scheme, the owners, who lived beyond their means, and the bankers and politicians, who made all the decisions, they all had a part to play, even the ones who financed their life styles with easy credit.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

Inflation happens because the people are wiling to pay higher prices

we expect prices to rise with time and so they do

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 8 years ago

There has to be something of value backing it or it's just paper

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 8 years ago


[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 8 years ago

Its just paper. Really, it is.

[-] -2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 9 years ago

No one cares, They love War. The love Republicans and Democrats. They love the status quo. They love selling out.

You are talking to the idiot masses. Try to dumb it down a bit.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

So, Mr. "Life Sux, Get Tuff" : Are you the person who just wrote the following twaddle (on http://occupywallst.org/forum/reasoning-for-income-gap/#comment-702033 )

"Life sucks. Get tough or get run over.

Unless you can change the selfish nature of this world, then you had better find a more practical way to get things going.

No one wants to pay for you. They all say they do, but when it comes down to it, they will take care of their family first. Its always been like that.

Some of us are realistic enough to realize it may take an entire career to make it from lower class to middle class. Plenty have done it before.

And plenty still will."


Ergo, how about : YOU don't care ; YOU love War ; YOU love 'Demoblicans and Republocrats' ; YOU love the status quo and thus maybe YOU are the Sell Out !!!

I really do hope that someone does you a favour and pulls out The IV Drip of 'Rancid, Retarded, Right Wing, Randian Poison' you seem to have been attached to !!

IF I'm addressing an idiot, was this "dumb" enough for you ?!

multum in parvo ...

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 9 years ago

You don't agree with something so now Im a right winger? Sorry, Im not one of your pro-war friends that is fine will killing innocent people in Africa and the Middle East.

Im not voting for one of these two animals that are guilty of war crimes (well, one currently is, the other will be if elected).

I dont vote D or R.

But you do, dont you?

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 9 years ago

Maybe you aren't a right-winger or maybe you are in a closet about it - in any case you are actually hung on your own petard re. your comments. Either way, I do NOT buy that there are any real and substantive differences between Demoblican and Republocrat as both are part of the same Corporate Binary Con - the illusion of choice in a delusion of democracy within the actuality of 'A One Imperial Corporate WAR Party - Two Factions' system that prevails in The U$A.

I'm not familiar with your comments but invite you to re-read your own two comments above and NOT regard them as reactionary. IF you were tending towards using sarcasm and irony and you are not really a retarded, rightwing Randian - then that is all well and good.

ad iudicium ...