The war in Afghanistan may cost another $60 billion dollars and last ten more years, even if U.S. forces start leaving the country in 2011, said potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights.
A NATO training-mission document recently uncovered by the Associated Press estimated it would cost about $6 billion dollars a year to train Afghani military and police forces. Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander in Afghanistan, has said that a successful counter-insurgency operation could last another ten years.
“That means this war will cost at least another $60 billion to finish a job we never should have started,” said R. Lee Wrights. “No wonder our country is going broke.”
Even with the training the NATO document acknowledges that Afghanistan will remain largely dependent on U.S. forces for security for years. The document also includes plans for large-scale infrastructure projects for “establishing enduring institutions” and “creating irreversible momentum” according to AP sources.
“The only ‘irreversible momentum’ we’re creating is the irreversible momentum driving America deeper and deeper into debt,” Wrights said. “And the only ‘enduring institutions’ we’re creating is the enduring institution of a welfare-warfare State that supports corrupt governments under the guise of fighting terrorism.”
Wrights said he’s troubled by comments Petraeus has made about the withdrawal of American troops, which is supposed to begin in July 2011.
“He seems to be hedging his bets,” Wrights said. After nine years of war, Petraeus said that it is just now that the United States has the organization and people in place to fight a counter-insurgency operation.
“The general is reputed to be an expert on this type of warfare and has said it can take years, even decades, to wage successfully,” Wrights says. “So if we are just getting started now, it could take ten more years to ‘finish the job.’ That’s unacceptable.”
Wrights is also troubled by the fact that the general refers to July 2011 as the date “when a process begins, the pace of which is determined by conditions on the ground.” Petraeus characterized the process as a “thinning out” of U.S. forces, rather than a “turning over” of security for their own country to Afghanistan’s citizens and authorities.
“We have already endured one war where the generals and politicians kept telling us they were seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ but that light never got any closer,” Wrights said.
Petraeus recently spoke out against plans by a Florida minister to burn the Qur’an, saying that the action would put American troops in danger.
“What is a greater danger to American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen is keeping them in a war we should not have started in the first place, helping prop up a corrupt government,” Wrights said. “If we truly want to keep our troops safe, we should bring them home now.”
Wrights is considering seeking the LP presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.
R. Lee Wrights, 52, is a writer and political activist living in Texas. Born in Winston-Salem, he is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.