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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 8, 2013 at 6:33 AM

The cost of war in Iraq, Afghanistan

United States should keep funding development for countries in need

Indeed, the costs of foreign wars will keep mounting if the United States doesn’t do more to improve the lives of the poorest people around the world [“Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan could cost up to $6 trillion,” front page, March 31].

In countries suffering from weak institutions and corruption where people lack opportunities for self-betterment, extremist organizations are able to thrive. These organizations are the same ones that threaten our national security, resulting in this $2 trillion burden on taxpayers.
By supporting communities in need with basic goods like clean water and education, suddenly the places that have provided a safe haven to terrorist groups like al-Qaida are now able to experience greater stability and contribute to global security.

Often, Americans argue that spending money overseas worsens our financial situation, but the public perception of how much the United States spends on poverty assistance doesn’t match the reality.

While most people think around 20 percent of the federal budget goes to developing countries, the real amount isn’t even 1 percent. This minimal investment has a huge impact by providing millions of people basic services and resources, which, in turn, can prevent the need for costly military engagements.

It was said best by former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”

Shannon Keith, The Borgen Project, Seattle

Comments | More in Afghanistan, Iraq war

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