As America marks the 10th year of war in Afghanistan, the world is calling it the longest and the most expensive US war ever. And as Michael Shank from George Mason University told RT, the war is a failure in all ways.
“The war in Afghanistan is costing $1 million per soldier per year, so we are spending $325 million per day, $10 billion per month and $120 billion per year,” he said. “The history books will look at the success and sustainability of the strategies, and I would argue they are not successful and neither are they sustainable. We have tried every military strategy under the sun from counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency. That is not sustainable, neither is the development strategy. If we look at our diplomacy strategy, it failed as well,” he added.
It has been estimated that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have cost the US a staggering $3.7 trillion so far. In times of financial hardship in the US and the world, this cannot be justified at any level, believes Shank.
“And if we end the wars now, we will save $1.4 trillion. The money we spent we did not actually have – that was all debt-funded and deficit-funded. We need to reduce the heavy military footprint and air print that is costing our coffers incredible amounts of money and pursue lighter footprints,” he stated.
Just a few days before 9/11, the Taliban offered to give up Osama bin Laden, and continued to do so after the campaign began. But the US did not take them up on that. According to Shank, the Taliban leaders went to negotiations several times, and were killed on the way.
“The real problem killing the top Taliban brass is that they were willing to negotiate. Now that you are killing them off, you have a younger breed, and they are less willing to negotiate. They have been fighting for fewer years. They are not that tired of the fighting. So when you are killing the top Taliban elder leadership, you are also killing off those most willing to negotiate,” he explained.