Signup for our free newsletter:

The Cost of a War That Never Ends

Written By Jeff Edwards

Posted January 7, 2016

As I type this article, up to a dozen or more Special Ops soldiers are surrounded by the Taliban in the Marjah District of Afghanistan.

Perhaps by the time you read this article, the situation will be resolved, and hopefully in a manner that leaves a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth for any fans of the Taliban.

The news might come as shock to many Americans who believed the war in Afghanistan was over.

After all, this thing did kick off over 14 years ago, and we could have fought three or four World War IIs during that time.

But make no mistake — we are still in a shooting war with a determined enemy, and America better start putting a little money away to fight this war for another 14 years, because just like the song that never ends, this war is going to keep going on and on, my friend.

A Child of War

Presuming the Taliban follows the traditional ages for enlisting men into a war, that means some of the Taliban scum surrounding our Special Forces right now were perhaps four years old when American troops first crossed the border into Afghanistan.

But since we know the Taliban couldn’t care less about traditional ethics or the innocence of a child, it is also entirely possible that a teen solider fighting our Special Forces right now was not even born yet.

Personally, I served in Iraq 13 years ago, and I have always found it remarkable to consider an American Marine fighting today was but five years old when I returned home from Iraq.

Special Forces tend to be a little older than the average military enlistee, but it is well within reason that one of those American Special Forces surrounded right now was perhaps 10 or 12 when I returned from war.

What this proves is that we can declare the end of a war all we want with special ceremonies, banners, and parades, but the enemy always gets a say as to whether or not we are really finished.

It wouldn’t appear that the next generation of Taliban seems any less willing to fight than the last, which leads me to believe this will indeed be the war that keeps going on and on.

Could You Spot Me a Trillion Dollars?

Defense appropriations bills will typically be referenced with costs in the billions of dollars.

But when it comes to the Global Wars on Terrorism — or GWOT, as they have become known — make no mistake about it: We are in the trillion-dollar range.

Exact figures of the costs of these wars are actually hard to calculate, what with persons of varying political leanings trying to make them seem higher or lower to suit their fancy.

But with bipartisan certainty, we are well past a trillion dollars.

I’m not sure if you keep up with America’s budget deficits or not, but we could really use a trillion dollars right now.

That is not to say we could or should have avoided these wars in their entirety, but make no mistake: they cost money, and the next 14 years of war won’t be any cheaper.

At some point, political leadership is going to have to be honest with us about the full cost of this ongoing war, and measures are going to have to be taken to either pay for it or end it.

The Taliban might be able to run its war machine at the cost of a couple of goats and a bushel of heroin, but America simply cannot.

If the Taliban will not give up the will to fight, then it will bankrupt us.

To me, our choices are to either win this war in a very decisive fashion soon or simply pull back and contain the violence from without at a fraction of the cost.

This is the war that never ends, my friend, and it will go on and on, until either we run out of money or the Taliban runs out of goats.

And since a couple of Ben Franklin $100 bills can’t get it on like goats and reproduce, we might come out on the losing end of that equation.