A million dollars a year!
That’s what it costs to put one–that’s right, one–soldier or Marine on the ground in Afghanistan and to house and supply him or her there. This figure comes directly from the White House and was widely quoted in in the flurry of PR around President Obama’s West Point speech announcing his 30,000+ escalation of the occupying force in Afghanistan.
A million bucks a year. That’s a nice round figure. A more useful tool for those of us working to revive the anti-war movement is hard to imagine.
This struck me yesterday when the Transit Authority here in NYC, faced with a severe budget crunch, decided to eliminate passes for kids going to and from school, to close whole subway lines and bus routes, to cut services and crowd trains more, and to limit the Access-A-Ride program for seniors and the disabled. All of this, one report said, would save $139 million in the first year.
The math is easy–simply don’t send 139 troops to Afghanistan next year. That would cover the cost of averting brutal cuts to a public transit system used by more than 5 million people every day.
You get the idea. Call it what you want–a “troop year” perhaps. Anytime some government agency grappling with revenue collapse caused by the economic meltdown announces an increase in fees or a cutback in services, just figure how many troops not being shipped into harm’s way in Helmand Province it would take to make that budget good.
Then spread the word! Use the fact in conversations, letters to the editor, emails to friends and family, leaflets, faxes to Congresscritters who are about to vote to appropriate more money for the war.
People in this country may not like thinking about the war, but they sure can’t help thinking about the economy. This is a nice clear way to help them make the connection.
You know those college students in California who are in the middle of a fierce battle to block an unbelievable 32% tuition increase? That’s right, just bring 505 troops who are already in Afghanistan home in 2010. Some of them might even want to enroll, too.