Afghanistan: Our Most Costly War May Soon End
The war in Afghanistan, long acknowledged to be America’s “forgotten war,” has become a 17-year-long conflict. The Vietnam War is the only military campaign that has lasted longer at 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day.
The 2,400 death toll from the Afghanistan War is very low. In the Civil War and World War II, we lost a half million people in each conflict. During the Vietnam War, we lost 58,000 lives. Our losses in Afghanistan are so light, any grieving family can expect a call from President Trump.
The key problem with the Afghanistan war is the cost. Modern warfare has become such a massively expensive endeavor that the smallest military campaign cannot be sustained without bleeding a nation dry. There have been several projects that have tried to estimate the total war spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001. Most come up with a figure between $5 and $6 trillion.
The cost of the Afghanistan fighting doesn’t include future spending that will be needed for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The high rates of injuries and increased survival rates in Iraq and Afghanistan mean that over half the 2.5 million who served there suffered some degree of disability. Their healthcare and disability benefits alone will easily cost $1 trillion in coming decades.
We now spend so much on advanced military equipment, it’s not possible for us to fight a prolonged war. The F-35 has become my favorite example of cost overrun gone wild. It is America’s most expensive war machine. Each fighter jet was first slated to cost $52 million. After 10 years of mounting expenditures, the per unit cost has now reached $300 million.
From windows to jet engines, everything on the F-35 is more expensive. Each helmet for the fighter jet costs $400,000; more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for headwear for other aircraft such as the F-16. It takes a month just to apply corrosion prevention and radar absorbing layers of paint to one of these jets. Because the F-35 is so complex, we only produce 10 jets per month.
One indication that financial reality has set in are reports that the US is negotiating with the Taliban to leave Afghanistan. US State Department officials recently met with Taliban leaders in Qatar. At the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited. The officials discussed ceasefire and an end to the war. Another indication that Washington is looking for an Afghanistan exit is the US inspector general charged with monitoring US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction has reported that, since 2008, the US has completely wasted at the least $15.5 billion.
When Trump was running for office, he was very much against continuing the Afghanistan war. Now that he has had time to rethink his General’s advice, it appears that his business sense is returning him to his previous comments on the subject:
“It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests.” (February 27, 2012)
“Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.” (March 12, 2012)
“We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard and quick. Rebuild the U.S. first.” (March 1, 2013)
The liberal media have trained themselves to exploit any misstep or inconsistency that President Trump makes. Once an announcement is made, a plan to negotiate peace and leave Afghanistan will be reported as the greatest betrayal in history. Trump will be handing Afghanistan back to the Taliban, but you can save people who refuse rescue.
I have to wonder if the reason why America is not clearly mentioned in Bible prophecy is because we will implode under the financial weight of our vast military complex. It might not be Afghanistan that breaks us; but someday the dollar is going to collapse, and the Antichrist’s ten-nation military may just step in to take our place.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:7-8).
Rush into Last Days
Rush Limbaugh, the premiere conservative radio talk-show host, delved into an arena he rarely enters. He bordered on getting into Bible prophecy Thursday July 26, while reading to his audience from an article written by a so-called futurist.
A few days previous, I had received the same article from which Rush read. My friend’s email note, I inferred, indicated that the article’s content might have some peripheral relationship to the deep state things often in the news these days–news reports surrounding hatred for President Donald J. Trump.
The deep state milieu rivets my attention. This is because I view everything we are inundated with in each and every news cycle as involving the hate-filled politics that smack of Paul’s warning in his letter to the Ephesians. That Scripture should be quite familiar to readers of this column: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
The spiritually attuned believer should be aware of this battle taking place behind the headlines. It is all part of the opening salvos of the great end-times battle that will lead to Armageddon. The battle will break out in full force once the Church–all born-again believers in accordance with Romans 10:9-10–are called to be with Christ:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
But Rush, in that July 26 program, mentioned none of these prophetic truths–probably doesn’t grasp or even desire to grasp these future realities. I once heard him say his father didn’t believe the Book of Revelation even belonged in the canon of Scripture. He indicated that he believed the same.
However, during the Thursday program he said that the people who were the subjects of the article mentioned above didn’t recognize that the things they fear as soon coming to pass are given in that prophetic Book. He added that these men–five hedge-fund billionaires–totally left God out of their configuring for the world-rending event that is to come.
Here is a very brief excerpt of the article Rush addressed.
Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk–about half my annual professor’s salary–all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology”…
My audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys–yes, all men–from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own…
They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
Which region will be less affected by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the Event?” (“How tech’s richest plan to save themselves after the apocalypse. Silicon Valley’s elite are hatching plans to escape disaster – and when it comes, they’ll leave the rest of us behind,” by Douglas Rushkof, July 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/23/tech-industry-wealth-futurism-)
The author of the article went on to write that the multibillionaires were interested only in surviving a coming “event” –one that would be the beginning of thehttps://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/23/tech-industry-wealth-futurism-transhumanism-singularity end of the world. That was the future they wanted to learn how to survive–not how to plan, financially, to do even better than they already are doing.
Rush talked about how this sort of fear-mongering is normally part of the wild-eyed speculations of kooks. But these were men who dealt with the realities, not the apocalyptic fears of Hollywood-type fictioneers. And, these men now really believed there was one “event” that will initiate Armageddon!
The world is indeed moving toward some climactic event that will bring about a world more horrific than any yet experienced by earth’s inhabitants. But, those mentioned here have no idea of what that “event” is or the signals of its approach. They simply instinctively sense that something is on the brink of bringing their world crashing down around their ears.
Again, Jesus’ forewarns of just this scenario–but a scenario that is made of absolute truth, not Hollywood hype or writers’ fiction. These will not understand the true nature of what is about to happen because they, as Rush has charged, leave God out of the equation in looking to the future.
Those of you who read and believe what is written in Holy Scripture take the God who created all there is at His Word regarding Bible prophecy. You can, with study and prayer, understand things these great men of wealth refuse to grasp.
Jesus prophesied that there would be buying, selling, building, planting, marrying, giving in marriage–i.e., an extraordinary time of uptick in economic life at the very moment He next catastrophically intervenes (Matthew 24:36-42; Luke 17:26-30).
That great “event” will be the Rapture! (John 14: 1-3).
I believe we are seeing the beginning of that economic boom at present.
My new book: Essays in Apocalypse: Some Thoughts on the End of Days, is being released this week. That book contains my in-depth thoughts in a chapter titled “The Coming Economic Boom.”
Last-days dynamics are on full display for all to see. But the “seeing” of what is happening must be accomplished through unwavering belief in God’s Word on the matters involved.