An op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times argues:
Thirty thousand more troops to Afghanistan is a $30 billion decision because, according to the White House, it costs about $1 million to send one soldier there.
That $1 million could be spent in many other ways. It could pay 30 caregiver stipends to family members of severely disabled veterans who have come back from Afghanistan and Iraq, providing them with first-rate care. It could support 70 unemployed people for a year. It could give tax credits to small business to create 77 new jobs. It could provide 102 full college scholarships for a year. It would pay for health insurance for 690 children for a year. It could refit 1,330 homes with renewable energy.
Should this money be spent on all those other things? Well no, of course not. The government has no business messing up all those other things as well. Nevertheless, these figures put the money — which should be paying back our ballooning national debt — in helpful context. And this opinion piece is definitely right about one thing:
This hemorrhaging of resources contributes to the economic deterioration of the United States.