Into the Sandstorm

America can’t afford increased involvement in foreign affairs

Throughout history, the United States has shown its inability to stay out of foreign affairs. When I look at the conflicts involving the Middle East, I see history repeating itself over and over again.

I believe all resources should be used to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the jihadist group that is now controlling Iraq and Syria. This does not include sending boots on the ground and creating another 10-year fiasco, but citizens shouldn’t be terrorized to death every day they walk to the market. According to a Huffington Post article, since the Sept. 11 attacks, military spending has increased. This is understandable after innocent civilians lost their lives from the attacks.

The United States, instead of worrying about other nations, should worry about its own people and focus on having them succeed. War, according to the Huffington Post, has led to short-term gains while culminating in long-term domestic economic and social problems.

According to an article titled “The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations,” since the Sept. 11 attacks, $1.283 trillion dollars has been spent on military and diplomatic operations, and on medical care for Iraq and Afghan war veterans. Over $1.2 trillion was given to the Department of Defense, $67 billion went to USAID and $8 billion was spent on current and past military veterans who use the Medical Program in the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

I am appalled that through all the years the United States was involved in Iraq and Afghanistan nothing was accomplished and we sacrificed 5,281 service men and women.

One area I feel this country has failed at is taking care of its disabled veterans. An arm lost to a roadside bomb can be replaced with a prosthetic, but a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder requires continuous support. According to the United States military, they are making sure that when it comes to PTSD, the care is conducted in the right and most effective manner.

Right now, the military is urging health professionals to help veterans keep on track during their recovery process, and to make sure they and their families are safe. Studies are still being conducted on this disorder and its damaging effects on the human brain.

According to the article, “Cost of long-term medical benefits to Afghanistan and Iraq veterans,” of the 1.64 million United States soldiers involved with the War on Terror since 2007, 300,000 suffer from PTSD or major depression, while another 320,000 suffer from traumatic brain injury. The RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization for United States service members, said if America can put forth more sophisticated treatments and screenings, then the nation would be able to save $1.7 billion, $1,063 for every veteran.

As college students, it is important to remember the cost of foreign intervention because knowing what’s going on in the world is critical in an environment where knowledge and critical thinking skills are essential.

With a long history of government spending on foreign intervention, right now America needs to redistribute funds to empower its own citizens and children of the future.