I intensely dislike simplistic comparisons of the “imagine what we could with the money allocated to defense spending… how many schools can a cruise missile build?” type….

I think the comparisons are simplistic for a variety of reasons. Often the reason for using force in the first place is because “they” wont listen…. So hard to imagine that “they” would take the money and do what you think it right. A case in point – whatever else the state of propaganda coming out of Afghanistan it does seem that there is a very strong inclination against schooling women. Giving money to the pre-2001 Afghan government was hardly going to change that. (and I am not saying that is a cogent reason to go to war.)

Anyways … despite disliking those kinds of arguments, I found myself instinctively reaching for exactly one of those comparisons today. The sum in question: 1,283 billion dollars US. Yes, folks, you are not having an absence seizure…. it really is one thousand and 2 hundred and eighty three million millions. I am allowing myself the liberty of indulging in that “what if” because of the disclaimer that this $1,283 billion is: “on top of its usual military expenditure without adjusting for inflation and debt interest.”


What if we had taken all that money and did something different than bomb?