From Matthew Hoh, Iraq War veteran
$5.6 trillion, with no end in sight. That’s the cost of America’s wars since 9/11. But as a Marine who served in Iraq, I don’t need a price tag to tell you about the cost of our wars for veterans like me. I’ve seen for myself the amputations, traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and moral injury that all lead to massively disproportionate levels of suicide, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness in veterans returned home from war. And I’ve witnessed the human cost of our wars beyond our borders, in Iraq where I was stationed and for millions around the world.
Veterans Day parades celebrated the bravery of service members, and I will be remembering those who were alongside me overseas. But before Cold War hysteria took over, November 11th was Armistice Day — a day for peace. The original Armistice Day marchers, veterans who survived the killing fields of the First World War, carried banners declaring “Never Again.” Imagine if we had listened to those veterans. Instead, our country continues to pour troops into stupid, bloated, and deadly wars.
That’s not honoring or respecting veterans. That’s putting war profits and reckless ideologies over our lives. Please join me in supporting Rep. John Lewis’ call to honor our veterans by accounting for the human, moral, and financial costs of war.
$5.6 trillion by next September works out to $310 billion per year to prop up our endless wars. That’s $23,386 per taxpayer per year. Slice it however you want, it’s an incomprehensibly massive number. And instead of asking ourselves if a single penny is worth it, we just keep freefalling into gargantuan war debt.
That’s why Rep. John Lewis is speaking up to demand a public, national conversation on war financing. His amendment to Trump’s tax bill would prohibit cutting taxes on the rich — a loss of revenue that would add right onto our pile of war debt — until we get our troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and eliminate the war deficit gobbling up our budget.