The Cost of War on Terror – Joe Burton

May 13, 2011

To the Editor:

Charles Krauthammer believes that finding and assassinating Osama Bin Laden would not have been possible without the Global War on Terror (N&O, 5/6). He doesn’t mention the cost, but it is clearly the most expensive manhunt in history.

To date American human cost is 5,885 killed and 32,051 seriously wounded, including the grief and damage to families of those soldiers. Tens of thousands Afghanistan and Iraq natives have been killed, many of them women and children. Three-million have been displaced from their homes.

There is the financial cost of $1.2 trillion. We have a national budget that was balanced prior to the wars and now is deeply in the red.

And, there has been a cost to our international reputation and civil society. We are now known worldwide as a nation that tortures its prisoners and will assassinate anyone our leaders think is a terrorist. Domestic and international laws regarding torture have been routinely ignored. Innocence until proven guilty has been thrown on the trash heap and the rule of law has been harmed accordingly.

So was the death of one man worth all the damage, debt, and misery that we will be living with for decades to come?

—Joe Burton

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