What is the cost of the war in Afghanistan?
$100 million every month.
October 24, 2007
The war in Afghanistan has cost Canada dearly in lives and money.
The deaths of 71 soldiers and a diplomat are, sadly, well known. The financial costs are less well known. On Monday a report which Bill Robinson and I co-authored showed that the “full cost” of the war will be $7.2 billion by March 2008.
That means that we are spending more than $100 million every month on the war in Afghanistan!
Moreover, military spending is skyrocketing in Canada – we have moved from 16th to 13th highest in the world this year (6th highest in NATO), and our $18 billion defence budget is 27 per cent higher than the budget before September 11, 2001. In fact, when you adjust for inflation, we are now spending more on the military than at any time during the Cold War.
That’s why our report, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, was titled “More Than the Cold War: Canada’s military spending 2007-08.”
But someone in the government is not happy about our report. Yesterday I received a phone call from a researcher at the Library of Parliament who was asked by a Member of Parliament to investigate the Rideau Institute’s sources of funding.
I felt that this was not a friendly request, and the researcher refused to reveal the name of the Member of Parliament who was snooping around our funding sources. I told him proudly that he can report back to whatever Member of Parliament was looking for this information that we have more than 1,000 people who support this work through Ceasefire.ca!
Suprisingly, the government is prolonging Afghanistan’s suffering by clinging to our combat role and refusing to support a negotiated end to the war.
The recent poll last week showed that Afghans want the fighting to end, and they support negotiations. The very last sentence of the Globe and Mail ‘s article was the most important:
“Despite the enmity toward the Taliban, 74 per cent [of Afghans] said they supported negotiations between the Karzai government and Taliban representatives as a way of reducing conflict. In Kandahar, support for talks jumped to 85 per cent.”
A parliamentary vote on whether to extend the war is coming soon. We need to get ready so that Prime Minister Harper is not allowed to drag us through another two years of war to 2011, as he wants to do.
I hope that you will take a moment to send your letter to Stephen Harper at Ceasefire.ca, if you have already done so. Please encourage your contacts to make their voices heard in Ottawa as well.