The Corner

End the War . . . for Pork?

As we wait for President Obama’s speech regarding the pace of our drawdown in Afghanistan, the Left is now calling for the war to end — because the money is needed at home . . . for pork-barrel spending:

 On Monday, the United States Conference of Mayors made that connection explicitly, saying that American taxes should be paying for bridges in Baltimore and Kansas City, not in Baghdad and Kandahar.

The mayors’ group approved a resolution calling for an early end to the American military role in Afghanistan and Iraq, asking Congress to redirect the billions now being spent on war and reconstruction costs toward urgent domestic needs. The resolution, which noted that local governments cut 28,000 jobs in May alone, was the group’s first venture into foreign policy since it passed a resolution four decades ago calling for an end to the Vietnam War.

. . . 

 Demonstrators describing themselves as “angry jobless citizens” said they would picket the Capitol on Wednesday to urge members of Congress to use any savings from Mr. Obama’s troop reductions to create more jobs. The group sponsoring the demonstration, the Prayer Without Ceasing Party, said in a statement on Tuesday that it was “urging the masses to call their congressmen and the president to ensure that jobs receive a top priority when the troops start returning to America.”

What a crushing combination of military and economic ignorance. The “stimulus” passed in 2009 cost more than several years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, and it disappeared into the ravenous maw of public-sector inefficiency and waste. Will we yank ourselves out of economic stagnation by redirecting Afghan war spending — a small fraction of the original wasted stimulus — into roads, bridges, and municipal pensions? The very notion is absurd.


The military ignorance is also quite striking. While we do spend considerable sums trying to build a decent Afghan infrastructure, the majority of taxpayer money is spent keeping troops supplied and maintained in the field. Counterinsurgency warfare is not — contrary to popular belief — “touchy-feely.” The classic phases of “clear, build, and hold” require intense fighting, prolonged combat from a spider web of outposts at the end of incredibly long and tenuous supply lines, and massive material commitments. During my time in Iraq — during the height of the Surge — we spent virtually all of our dollars replacing and repairing damaged armored vehicles, upgrading from vulnerable Humvees to much stronger MRAPs, and coordinating the network of drones, helicopters, and fighters that served as our top cover. In other words, we spent our money fighting a vicious and depraved enemy.


But now the Left wants us to pull back from that fight to fund “shovel-ready” projects? We already know how that goes. Michael Yon said yesterday, “[O]ur enemy is being monkey-stomped. The rule of monkey-stomping has never changed. Don’t stop stomping until the enemy stops breathing.” And to that I’d add: “You don’t stop stomping to build a bridge in Baltimore.”


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